While the Federal Student Loan Consolidation Program is a very standardized program, and designed that way by the government to ensure every student borrower receives fair and equal treatment, everyone's loans and circumstances are different. Keep in mind that the main reason consolidation is currently such an attractive program is because the variable rate on unconsolidated Stafford loans are very low, and inaction will mean you probably will pay a higher interest rate in the future on the loans you have.
There are however, some unusual circumstances that warrant guidance from an experienced consolidation specialist that keeps your values and needs in mind. The following frequently asked questions might help you:
No, Federal Law prohibits charging the borrower any fees, adding any amount to the volume of the loan, or charging any prepayment penalties if you pay off your loan early. In addition, consolidation does not require a credit inquiry.
You may keep your payment the same size, pay the minimum (usually based on an extended term to reduce the size) or pay the loan off faster in the future as your finances allow at no penalty. In addition, you also retain all your forbearance and deferment rights as exist in your original loans, and your interest rate remains the same if you begin paying off the loan at a faster rate.
The only way you may consolidate your loans is if the loans have been in repayment and gone back into deferment due to your reentering school at more than a half time credit load, or if you have left school by dropping below a fifty percent credit load or graduating. Parent Plus loans usually do not have an in school deferment provision, and can be consolidated once the loan has been fully disbursed. Parent Plus loans cannot be consolidated with the students Stafford or Perkins loans. They can, however, be consolidated with other student or parent PLUS loans belonging to a spouse.
Unfortunately, no. These are not collection agents, they are experts at assisting you in bringing your loans current. Once current, you can consolidate your loans, fix your interest rates and get lower payments.
The Federal Student Loan Consolidation utilizes a weighted average calculation to insure each borrower is treated equally and fairly. This formula does not allow for a recalculation of an already fixed rate loan unless you are adding another eligible Federal student or parent PLUS loan to the calculation.