Nowadays, education can be an expensive endeavor financially. Many students are getting financial aids to fund their college study. Although there are students getting scholarships, most students who don’t get the free money need to apply for private student loans to pay for their education. These private student loans may charge high interest rates and can be a financial burden to these students that don’t earn high enough income to repay the loan after their graduation. It is well worth for those who have taken multiple private student loans to look into the options available for consolidating their loans into low interest rate to get 2 benefits with one solution: ease of debt management and pay less in total interest with a loan at low interest rate. Here are the 7 steps of consolidating private student loans:
Step 1: List all the outstanding private student loans
Before finding for consolidation loans, you have to know the total amount you owe in the loans, the interest rate of each one and the monthly payment amount, etc. List them in the order from highest interest rate with largest amount to the lowest. Just in case you can’t find a consolidation loan to get rid of all accounts, paying off the amount owed with highest interest rate with larger amount will save you more interest.
Steps 2: Review the terms of each private student loan
Some student loans may cost expensive pre-payment penalties. Therefore, you have to review the terms of your current loans. Record down the penalties and the charges that will cost you if you settle them earlier than the terms specified in the agreements.
Steps 3: Clean up your credit report
Your credit rating will determine the interest rate, the amount and the chance for your loan application to be approved. Therefore, you need to make sure your credit status is up-to-date and no error found in your credit report. Before you apply a loan, get the credit reports from 3 common credit bureaus and review the report. If you have paid off a debt, but it is still listed as unpaid balance, it can significantly affect your credit score. You have to request any error found in your credit report to be corrected so that your credit score truly indicate your credit status.
Steps 4: Define the objectives of consolidation
What are your objectives of consolidating the private student loans? If your goal is to lock the loan at a fixed low interest rate and you own a home, you might want to consider a home equity loan. Or, the current total monthly payment cause a financial burden on you and you want to reduce the monthly payment. In this case, you will need to look for a loan that has repayment term that is long enough to reduce the amount that reaches your comfortable level. But, be aware that the longer you take to pay off a loan, the more interest you have to pay.
Steps 5: Decide on a consolidation loan
Once you know what you need in achieving the goals of consolidating private student loans, you can start look for a suitable loan from many offers in the market. Compare them in term of costs, interest rates and other benefits before deciding the one that meets your requirements.
Steps 6: Short-list and contact the lenders
After reviewing the offers that meet your objectives of consolidating private student loans, short-list a few of the best offers. Then, contact the lenders to get further details. You may negotiate to lower the interest rate when meet up the lenders. If you have credit history, they may agree to offer you with cheaper rate in order to secure you as their customer.
Steps 7: Sign up a consolidation loan
Once the loan is approved, review the fine-print of the agreement before accepting the loan. Then, use the loan to pay off the private student loans and make the monthly payment on time until it is paid off.