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Lower Your Student Loan With Federal Loan Consolidation

Aug 17, 2007
Loans. Adults cannot live with them, yet most people are unable to live without borrowing money. Buying a new car requires a loan, except for the rare individual who can pay in cash, like Bill Gates; a homeowner will have to acquire a mortgage for the next 20-30 years; and, a post-secondary education often means taking out a loan, to pay for books, tuition and living expenses.

In some cases federal loans are available through the Veteran's Administration for housing. Federal loans can help for disaster relief, or agricultural needs for farmers and ranchers. However, when discussing federal loan consolidation, most people immediately consider the unsubsidized and subsidized money used to finance a college education.

A college education is a costly venture, yet definitely worth the investment of time and money. However, the tuition and fees often discourage some potential students from trading in the spatula of a fast food restaurant, and picking up a textbook. A post-secondary degree program seems like an impossible dream, rather than an obtainable goal.

Nevertheless, after careful consideration, and a brief visit with a financial aid officer, unsubsidized and subsidized student loans are available for a two-year degree, a Bachelor's, a Masters, or a Doctorate. Federal loans consolidation takes place AFTER an individual is done receiving a formal education. The loans are usually made available every year.

Because the cost of learning is beyond the average pocketbook, many students take advantage of both a subsidized and unsubsidized loan, with the plan to take advantage of federal loan consolidation after school. Once accepted for the federal loan program, students are offered the opportunity to accept, or reject, a student loan at the beginning of the school year. In many cases, both types of loans are presented, to give an individual the extra money needed to pay off expenses, and maybe have a little left to live on, without having to hold down a full-time job.

If only one loan is needed, opt to accept the subsidized version. Not only will the payment schedule not be instituted until six months after leaving school, but also the interest will not start accruing either. Although interest may seem like small potatoes, in the long-term, subsidized loans can save thousands in repayment dollars.

When more financial assistance is necessary, an unsubsidized student loan is also available, and the financial aid will later qualify for federal loan consolidation. However, for this particular avenue of financial assistance, the interest starts building immediately, even though repayment is still not required until after graduation.

So, imagine both loans were necessary to complete a degree program. Before the six-month grace period has expired, federal loan consolidation can be implemented, saving up to 54% in monthly payment amounts. How? Prior to consolidation, the length of the loan is ten years. If the loans are consolidated, the length of the loan can be extended by five-ten years, making the payments more affordable.

In addition, federal loan consolidation also reduces the ultimate interest rate. Thus, the two monthly payments combined will probably be less than repayment of one loan individually. For example, the unsubsidized loan payment may be around $200/per month. In addition, the subsidized loan is going to be another $200. Two separate bills, one big chuck of the monthly income. By implementing federal loan consolidation, the loan is repayable in 20 years, and the monthly amount is only 46% of the anticipated $400. Now, the payments are a manageable $184/per month.

One problem. Consider the following scenario: a student earns a two-year degree at a local community college to save some money. Then, he/she transfers to a university to complete a four-year program. A Master's in a particular field is only offered at selected locations, so transferring is again necessary. Three different schools. Three different sets of lenders. No problem!

Federal loan consolidation will combine all the loans, pay off the necessary lenders, and leave only one bill, one lender, to repay. So, whether an individual goes to one university or four, federal loan consolidation will not only reduce the payment amount, but make repayment infinitely easier, in the long run.

The only drawback of federal loan consolidation, worth mentioning, is the reduced grace period. If a graduate decides consolidation is the right choice, the process must be completed before the six-month post-education period expires. Unfortunately, once the federal loan consolidation process has been completed, the repayment process begins. The borrower loses any remaining grace period.

However, since federal loan consolidation can save a former student from drowning under the weight of two, or more, loans, giving up a couple months of grace period is a small price to pay. Unless a graduate lands the perfect dream job right after the caps are tossed in the air, federal loan consolidation can be a lifesaver.
About the Author
Erol Orderland knows first hand how Student Debt can affect ones life. For more information visit Federal Loan Consolidation , Student Debt Consolidation or find out about Consolidation of Debt.
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