student loan consolidation... help.

sorry, I’m not normally the type to have two different threads going in one forum, but this is kind of urgent… :confused:

I know I need to consolidate. I have about 10 different loans and a lot of debt, so no matter what I do, the payments will be insane, but I’d much rather not be getting 10 different pieces of paper telling me I owe money every month.

the thing is, I know literally nothing about consolidating. I don’t know how it works or how it will affect me at all, except the vague notion that it will be “better in the long run”. most importantly, I don’t have a clue how to distinguish between the thousands of companies sending me crap in the mail, telling me they’re the best place to consolidate.

I only have three days, so I definitely need someplace that can accept applications online, but beyond that, I don’t know what to look for. can anyone help?

While I don’t know a lot about consolidating debt I do know that you should keep your student loan debt seperate. The interest you pay on it every year is tax deductable. Once you pay it off with some other type of loan and start paying interest on that one, you can’t continue to deduct the interest from your annual income taxes.

Additionally, loans borrowed through the federal student loan program carry certain perks that you may lose if you consolidate.
Namely, the ability to defer payments for up to 36 months (cumulatively over the life of the loans, not necessarily consecutively) for reasons of unemployment, birth of a child, that sort of thing.

I’ve recommended it before but go over the The Credit Boards forum. They have a whole area on student loans with lots and lots of helpful information and knowledgable posters. It’s definitely worth spending some time over there educating yourself on credit and loans.

Have you begun paying on your loans? If not, are you sure that you will be making 10 separate payments each month? My loans from undergrad & grad were from a variety of banks, but all were through the federal student loan program, so I had only one monthly payment - to Sallie Mae .

no, I haven’t begun paying yet, and my loans are mostly from a single bank. however, some of them are subsidized, some of them are unsubsidized, and some of them are “alternative loans” (the kind you get when you’re no longer eligible for federal funding). I know I’ve got at least three different alternative loans, so that’s already four payments right there.

I had both subsidized and unsubsidized loans, and they were combined in one payment to Sallie Mae.

I had about 7 different loans on graduating from college. Some were federal subsidized loans, some were unsubsidized, and one was from the college itself (somehow). I only had 2 payments: one to Sallie Mae and one to my school. And Sallie Mae gladly set up an automatic payment.

A while later, after I paid off the school-held loan, I consolidated the Sallie Mae loans to lock in a low rate. You do retain the subsidized/unsubsidized nature of federal loans. Or at least you can. You also do not necessarily lose the right to temporary stopping of payments for education or hardship, although the specific rights you have may change.

Check out, a department of Education site with lots of good information.