Save Money, Pay Less, Spend More on What You Want? Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? Well, if you'll spend a few minutes learning about student loan consolidation, you'll soon be armed with enough information to make some really good decisions and help you achieve all of the above, and more.
Student loans are available to students (and parents) in need of help with living costs while studying and working on a degree program. For many students, student loans are their largest source of cash and income (in some cases, their only source).
What often happens is students acquire multiple student loans, then begin to have cash flow problems, which leads to charges on one or more credit cards. These credit cards are typically issued with very high interest rates, often 18% or higher. This is a severely problematic financial trap, and a very tough way to get started in life for a young person who is still in school or just about to graduate. Too many students leave college with debt that weighs them down heavily, burdening their lives with debt that will haunt them for many years to come.
So, how does student loan consolidation work anyway? Students accumulate multiple loans from various lenders. This leads to multiple significant payments each month, arising from several loans with unfavorably high interest rates and overhead.
Loan consolidation allows students to combine multiple loans into a single instrument, one loan from a single lender, typically at a more favorable interest rate.
In effect, this is like refinancing a mortgage or credit card or other debt consolidation - multiple debts reduced to one. The balances of the original loans are paid off by the loan consolidation lender, and voila' - a single, lower payment! The results: lower monthly payments, less overhead costs for the same borrowed money, immediate cash flow to spend on more important items today, and less financial stress for the student (who is typically already under enough stress dealing with their degree program and other aspects of school life).
A student should seriously evaluate consolidating loans if the consolidated loan would result in a lower interest rate than the current student loans, and especially if the student is struggling to make multiple student loan repayments already.
Often times, the merged loan includes a more flexible set of repayment options, plus no charges, fees or prepayment penalties. In some cases, there may even be no pesky credit checks, loan collaterals or cosigners to deal with, as lenders have streamlined their processes in order to compete more effectively.
Student loan consolidation can reduce payments by up to 60 percent. Actual amount saved will depend upon the existing loan interest rates and the term of the original loans. Typical student loans are for a 10 year term.
When consolidating student loans, it's possible to refinance for up to 30 years (like a home mortgage). It's important that there be no prepayment penalties, since the student will likely want to pay these loans off much sooner, once their earning power has dramatically improved after graduating and they're progressing in a career which pays relatively well.
Of course, the longer the loan period, the higher the interest rate, lower the initial payments, which frees up precious cash flow when it's needed most - while the student is in school.
So, if a student has multiple loans, typically in excess of $7,500 total, there are many benefits a student consolidation loan. It's a great way to free up cash flow, pay less each month, and save money while in school.
Rick Braddy is an avid writer, Texas Holdem poker player, professional software developer and marketer. His loan consolidation review website provides students and parents with a wealth of free information and independent point of view on student loan consolidation, intended to help young people better finance and complete their educations.