Student Loan Consolidation Rates: Options Available To Students

Sunday, March 30, 2014
There is a trick to turning a difficult financial situation into an easy one. Consolidating the different loans and debts that exist is the key, clearing the headache and replacing it with more manageable terms. For students facing huge debts after graduation, consolidation is invaluable, but getting competitive student loan consolidation rates is a core aspect to the deal.

It is only obvious that the lower the interest rate the better, so a consolidation plan that has lower monthly repayments is important if the plan is to be as effective as it can be. After 4 or 5 years borrowing money, either to pay fees or simply survive, clearing college debts becomes a huge undertaking, but selecting the best program with good rates is essential.

Finding the right student loan consolidation program, and sifting through the individual terms and conditions, will take a bit of time and effort. But it will be worth it, if the pressure is eased and life becomes less stressful.

Consolidation Deals Explained

The core point to a consolidation plan is to ease the existing debt pressure, and securing the best terms means the debt is eased to the greatest degree. Each of the loan balances are combined and then repaid using the consolidation loan. This means 4 or 5 loans with different interest rates are replaced with one loan and one interest rate that is more affordable.

When it comes to consolidating student loans, consolidation rates can vary quite a lot from lender to lender. So knowing your own financial situation well, and what your existing costs are, is important. The total monthly repayments can be quite high, but when total balances are bought out, the repayments can be lowest by as much as 50%.

However, the most significant aspect to clearing college debts in this way is the fact that the loan term is lengthened. This means that the monthly repayments are kept to a minimum, thereby helping to make the student loan consolidation program so much more affordable.

Choose Your Rate

When dealing with student loan consolidation rates, it is important to remember that affordability is the number one concern. A part to establishing this is the choice of interest rate, and there are two types to choose from: fixed interest rates and variable interest rates.

Both have pros and cons. Fixed rates, for example, never change throughout the lifetime of the loan, making them easy to budget for. Even in times of financial crisis, the repayments will stay the same, so it is an ideal option when clearing college debts. The negative aspect is that the interest is higher.

In comparison, variable rates are lower but because they can fluctuate with the markets, they do not always stay that way. For example, if the starting rate is just 9%, then after 12 months, market events might have forced the rate up to 10%; after 24 months it might be 11%. Of course, they could also drop, making student loan consolidation repayments lower.

Mixing The Rates

Of course, it is also possible to mix the two rate types, if the term of the consolidation plan is very long. It means that students are given the chance to get on their feet initially, with student loan consolidation rates fixed for the first 2 or 3 years before switching to a variable rate.

Alternatively, a certain percentage of the debt (say 25%) is fixed, with the remaining sum charged at a variable rate. Even if the variable rate on the student loan consolidation plan increases, the student should be in a better position to afford it. It may seem to be a very complicated way of clearing college debts, but the result should be the same - keeping repayments low.