Ways to Consolidate Student Loans
Did you know that roughly 70% of all college students graduate owing a significant amount of money for student loans? There are more than 44 million people in the US owing about $1.5 trillion of the same debt. Those statistics alone are enough to make anyone nervous, especially those who are considering, are currently attending or have recently graduated college.
Unless you relied on grants, scholarships or financial support from your family, your decision to attend college came at a high price. By furthering your education, you’ll discover many career opportunities otherwise not offered to people without a degree. However, you still need to pay back the money owed on your student loans.
Just remember, paying off you loan isn’t an impossible feat. As you’ll discover with the information provided, there are many excellent ways to consolidate student loans. These programs make the repayment process easier and faster.
Viable Consolidation Options
Landing your dream job after college might take a little bit of time. That means you’re stuck making payments of almost $400 each month in the interim, perhaps more depending on the number and amount of loans you secured. Whether you graduated from a non-profit, public college or a university, you probably owe an average of around $30,000.
Are you ready for some good news - we have it for you. This year, you have at least seven fantastic possibilities. Keep in mind that each program for consolidating your student loans is unique. Therefore, it’s essential that you get as much information on those you prefer before making your final decision.
What makes PenFed such a great possibility? It’s one of only a handful of loan companies that will roll a spouse’s outstanding student loan debt in with yours, if applicable. However, it’s also known for offering the lowest rates on student loan consolidations. Although you’d have to show proof of income to qualify, PenFed provides loans up to $150,000.
Not only are there a lot of different loan options, but each one has the backing of a trusted financial institution, Citizens Bank. You can opt for a fixed or variable interest rate on a five, 10, 15 or 20-year repayment plan. This bank also offers discounts on interest and waives all application, origination and disbursement fees.
If you have a cosigner, Citizens Bank has a release program. After you make 36 consecutive payments, all on time and in the full amount due, the bank takes the cosigner off the loan. This means that the person no longer has any responsibility for repayment. The only real factor to consider is that you must secure at least $10,000. Therefore, if your outstanding student loan debt is low, you should probably look at some other options.
Of all companies that offer student loan consolidation, Earnest is one of the most flexible. Along with choosing between a five- to 20-year repayment term, you can set the monthly payment amount. You can even pick a different payment date, refinance at no charge or skip one payment a year, which moves to the backend of the loan.
There’s more too! Without set income requirements, obtaining a consolidation loan has never been easier. In fact, this company offers protection if you need to temporarily halt the payments due to an unemployment status.
As a reputable company, you can rely on College Ave to help you consolidate your student loans. If you have one loan and don’t like the interest rate or terms, no problem. College Ave offers single loan options to cover $5,000. If you owe more, the company lends up to $250,000.
This company’s repayment options make it stand out. Depending on your goal, you can go with a plan for deferred payment, fixed-rate payment, or an interest-only payment.
With a long history of consolidating student loans, a lot of people trust CommonBond. This company has both fixed and variable rate options and never charges fees. As part of its unemployment protection plan, CommonBond goes above and beyond for graduates. If eligible, this company will help you find a job. In some instances, it hires new graduates to assist with short-term consulting projects.
There are several unique aspects of this company, starting with the fact that it offers incredibly affordable consolidation loans by pooling money from both credit unions and banks. LendKey is also flexible in the amount it lends. Graduates earning specific types of degrees can borrow up to $300,000 while undergraduates have a $125,000 cap. Of course, you can consolidate as low as $5,000.
Another reason for choosing LendKey is that it has no prepayment or origination fees. You can even select auto-pay for added convenience. The only drawback is this loan company doesn’t offer student loan consolidations unless you’re a graduate.
EiFi is yet another great option. You’d need to borrow at least $15,000 but as far as the maximum. This loan company consolidates up to the balance owed. Especially if you have student loans with high balances, EiFi is incredible. Something else worth noting is the Parent PLUS program, which allows a parent to refinance even if the student loan is in your name.
Whether you decide to consolidate your student loans with Citizen’s Bank or one of the loan consolidation companies listed above, remember, you have to qualify. If you choose a private lender, it factors in things like your credit score, money in savings, as well as other assets, the college or university you attended, the degree earned, and your annual salary or in the case of doctors, the potential yearly income.
As for federal loans, you’ll likely need to complete the FAFSA. If you have medical student loans, along with completing the FAFSA, the lender will probably run a credit check. If you don’t qualify, you can always have someone cosign for a student loan consolidation loan.
The Bottom Line
Unless you have a loving family with the financial means and willingness to pay off your debt or you have some kind of windfall, perhaps winning the lottery, you’ll want to check your options for consolidation. Ultimately, this yields a lower interest rate and better terms, which equates to more affordable monthly payments. You can learn more about loans in our guide!