Last month our guest blogger Heather Jarvis wrote about what the debt ceiling deal means for student loans. Now she’s back with more advice for student loan borrowers and the people who love them. Here are excerpts from her post The Scoop on Student Loan Consolidation at AskHeatherJarvis.com.
Q. Why would I consolidate my student loans?
Heads up, government and nonprofit workers: consolidation can get your federal loans into Federal Direct, and only Federal Direct loans are eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness [PDF]. Consolidation allows you to group your loans together with one lender, and can give you access to a longer repayment period and lower monthly payments.
Q. Which loans can I consolidate?
Under the Direct Loan Consolidation Program, you can consolidate just about every type of federal student loan (including Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans, PLUS Loans, and Perkins Loans). But I cover three major caveats on my blog – check it out here.
Q. How do I consolidate?
Get all your ducks in a row:
- You’ll need information from your loan records to complete the consolidation application.
- If you don’t have meticulous records (don’t worry, I’m not judging!), start by getting your PIN from the U.S. Department of Education Federal Student Aid Web site, then log on to the National Student Loan Data System to retrieve your loan info.
- Figure out which repayment plan you want to select for your consolidation loan using available calculators.
- Visit the Direct Loan Consolidation website and fill out the online or paper consolidation application and all the forms that go with it.