Pros and cons of consolidating school loans

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Consolidation won't lower your interest rate, but you can lengthen the term of your loan, thereby lowering your monthly payments.

You will also retain the ability to apply for loan forgiveness, deferment, and forbearance in the future.

During deferment, you don't have to make student loan payments.Repayment generally starts 6 months after graduation.During deferment, interest doesn't accrue on Direct or Stafford Subsidized Loans, Perkins Loans, and the subsidized part of Direct Consolidation and FFEL loans. You can choose to pay the interest only during the deferment or have it added back to the balance of the loan.Always talk to your servicer before making a choice. You can select between the Standard Repayment Plan, Graduated Repayment Plan, Extended Repayment Plan, or one of the 4 income-driven repayment plans.You will have to complete an additional plan request form for the plan you choose. After signing and submitting it, it generally takes about 2 months for the new consolidated loan to be disbursed.

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