Good students have to carry a lot of burdens on their shoulders: they are responsible for studying hard to earn the best grades they can. They have to find a way to pay their living expenses as they make their way through school. And, they have to pay their tuition.For many students, the only way to pay living expenses and tuition while going to school full time is to take out a student loan. That is because most families these days cannot afford to pay for their sons and daughters to attend a 4-year college, a 2-year graduate school, or a 7-year medical school.Thanks to federal student loan guidelines, students are not required to repay their loans while they are still in school. And, most also are entitled to a short grace period after graduation during which they are not required to repay their loans. However, eventually that all ends and they must start making payments until the loans are paid off.The situation is even harder for graduates who have taken out two or more student loans over the course of their college careers. First of all, having multiple loans means more monthly payments to make. But, it also means having to manage different payment cycles, pay to different lenders, and even deal with different repayment schedules.Why Students Should Consider ConsolidationWith living expenses on the rise and jobs hard to come by for many college graduates, making one’s monthly loan payments can be very difficult. This is particularly true when their loans have short repayment schedules, such as 5 or 10 years.Savvy grads know that by consolidating their loans, they can actually not only simplify their monthly payments, but they can actually reduce the total amount they owe each month. Through the simple law of interest accrual, by choosing a longer repayment period through their consolidation loan than they have with their current loans, grads can actually significantly reduce their payment amounts.Of course, the drawback to consolidation is that the total cost of the loan goes up, since more interest must be paid over the life of the loan. Still, this is a trade-off that many grads in loan repayment are more than willing to make. In fact, consolidation can mean the difference between being able to make payments and defaulting on the loans. Defaulting should be avoided at all costs, since student loan debt cannot be forgiven – even in bankruptcy situations.Consolidation Loan: Lowest Rate For Student LoansConsolidation loans come in two flavors: federal and private. You do not have a choice as to which type to go with, however. Rather, you must choose federal loan consolidation if you currently have federal student loans like HEAL, Federal Perkins Loans, and PLUS loans. Meanwhile, you need to go with a private consolidation lender if you currently hold private student loans.When considering private consolidation loans, the lowest rate for students can be obtained by shopping around with multiple lenders. Note that, for private student loan consolidation, your interest rate is based upon the Prime Rate (or other published standard lending rate such as the LIBOR), plus a margin determined by your credit score. Ultimately, the rate you pay is up to each individual lender.To get the lowest interest rate, you will want to:1. Make a list of at least 4 or 5 private student consolidation loan lenders.
2. Apply for loans from each one.
3. Take the best offer you can get.Remember that it is very much worth it to do your homework to get the lowest consolidation loan interest rate: getting just a single point lower rate could save you tens of thousands in interest payments over the life of the loan.
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