What to know about consolidating student loans

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A co-signer is legally responsible for making loan payments if you fall behind. Many private student consolidation loans charge a variable interest rate.

If you have strong credit scores, you may qualify for an initial variable rate that is less than the permanent fixed rate you would pay on a Federal loan consolidation (if you have federal loans). But be mindful that a variable rate may ratchet higher based on changing economic conditions, or if you fall behind on your payments.

If you’re one of the more than 44 million Americans with student loan debt, you know that managing the repayment of those loans often feels like an exercise in cat herding.

Chances are, you’re juggling multiple loans taken out in different years or semesters.

On average, student loan borrowers have between three and four student loans on their financial plate.

) Adding a co-signer with a strong credit history to your loan application may help you snag a better deal.Loans offered outside of the federal loan program are called “private” student loans.You can use a private consolidation loan to streamline existing private loans, existing federal loans or a combination of federal and private loans. Unlike the federal consolidation program, your finances will be pored over by a lender to determine if you qualify for a consolidation loan and what sort of deal you might be offered.It might also help you build stronger credit scores, as on-time debt payments, including student loans, is a significant part of determining your credit scores.You may also be able to benefit from lower loan payments through student loan consolidation, though there are tradeoffs to consider when seeking a lower monthly payment. government, such as Stafford loans, Perkins loans and parent PLUS loans can be consolidated into a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan.

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