Are you tired of managing multiple federal student loan payments, with multiple interest rates or multiple servicers? If so, now may be the time for loan consolidation. The U.S. Department of Education made the landmark decision to allow you to choose your consolidation servicer (of which, Great Lakes is one) under the Direct Consolidation Loan program.
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Is Consolidation Right for You?
Loan consolidation can be a great solution for borrowers seeking convenience and ease in managing their student loans. Consolidation gives you:
One loan, one fixed interest rate, one monthly payment, one student loan servicer—of your choice, and no consolidation fee.
You're also able to maintain certain federal student loan benefits, including:
- Flexible repayment options.
You can choose from multiple repayment plans with various terms to repay your consolidation loan. Revised Pay as You Earn (REPAYE), Pay As You Earn (PAYE), Income-Based Repayment (IBR), and Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) plans offer flexibility and lower payments based on your income and family size. You may be able to change plans at any time, based on eligibility requirements. Visit StudentAid.gov and click on the Repayment and Consolidation tab to estimate your monthly payment under various repayment options.
- Your grace period.
If any of your loans are in a grace period and you want to consolidate them, make sure to note on your application the date the grace period ends. Otherwise, your consolidation application will be processed right away and you'll lose your grace period.
- Take care of your past due loans.
When you apply for consolidation, you may also be eligible for a temporary forbearance that might bring your qualifying past due loans current.
- Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) eligibility.
Consolidation loans are eligible for loan forgiveness under the PSLF program if you meet the additional program requirements. Not all loan forgiveness programs can be maintained under a Direct Consolidation loan. Please check the U.S. Department of Education's website for more details.
However, if you're looking to consolidate you should consider the following:
A Direct Consolidation loan's interest rate is the weighted average of your original loans' interest rates, rounded up to the nearest 1/8th of one percent.
Like a home mortgage or car loan, extending the years of repayment increases the total amount you will have to pay over the life of the loan.
If any loans you want to consolidate are in a grace period, you can request to delay the processing of your consolidation loan until the end of your grace period. On your application, you must enter the month and year your grace period is expected to end. If you leave it blank, the processing will begin as soon as your documents are received and you'll lose your grace period. Then, once the consolidation loan is completed, you'll be required to immediately begin paying it back.
However, they are eligible for an Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) plan.
This can include eligibility for subsidized interest, deferment, or loan forgiveness. Please check the U.S. Department of Education's website for more details.
To be eligible for a Direct Consolidation loan, you:
Must have at least one federal loan that is eligible for consolidation.
What types of loans can be consolidated?
Most federal student loans are eligible for consolidation, including the following.
- Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans
- Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans
- PLUS loans from the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program
- Supplemental Loans for Students
- Federal Perkins Loans
- Nursing Student Loans
- Nurse Faculty Loans
- Health Education Assistance Loans
- Health Professions Student Loans
- Loans for Disadvantaged Students
- Direct Subsidized Loans
- Direct Unsubsidized Loans
- Direct PLUS Loans
- FFEL Consolidation Loans and Direct Consolidation Loans (only under certain conditions)
Private education loans are not eligible for consolidation, but some Direct Consolidation Loan repayment plans, the total amount of your education loan debt—including any private education loans—determines how long you have to repay your Direct Consolidation Loan.
Direct PLUS Loans received by parents to help pay for a dependent student's education cannot be consolidated together with federal student loans that the student received.
- Must have loans in Grace or Repayment (including Deferment, Forbearance, or Delinquent) status.
- Cannot consolidate your loans while you're still in school.
- Can consolidate if your loan is in default, as long as you agree to pay your new Direct Consolidation loan under an income-driven repayment plan, such as Revised Pay As You Earn, Pay As You Earn, Income-Based Repayment, Income-Contingent Repayment, or make satisfactory repayment arrangements with your loan holder.
Ready to Go?consolidate now