1. Shop around. Loan consolidation program reductions vary from lender to lender, the more interest rate reduction the better.
2. Pay off your loan as early as possible
3. If you have variable rate Stafford loans consolidate no later than 6 months after you graduate.
To save money with a student loan consolidation you need to take three things into consideration, your interest rate, how long it will take you to pay back your loan, and the status and type of your student loans.
Tip 1-Shop Around
First let’s talk about the interest rate. The lower your interest rate the less you will pay on your student loan consolidation. As I told you earlier the interest rate on a consolidation loan will be fixed. Once it is fixed it can not go higher, but it can go lower. Many student loan consolidation programs offer benefits to lower your interest rate. The main two benefits offered by student loan consolidation programs are for consecutive on-time payment and direct withdrawal. The on-time payment benefit is simple. If you make your payments on-time for a set amount of months your interest rate will automatically drop. Here’s an example: Let’s say you have a consolidation loan with lender “A” and an interest rate of 5%. Lender “A” will give you an interest rate reduction of 1.25% for consecutively making your payments on-time for 24 months. This means that after 24 months of making your payment on-time the interest rate will drop 1.25% creating a new interest rate of 3.75%, a huge money saver over the long-haul.
The second benefit, direct withdrawal is even easier. Set up a monthly automatic direct withdrawal from your bank account and receive an interest rate reduction. The interest rate reduction will generally be anywhere from 0.25% to 0.5%. Automatically, each month the loan consolidation program will take your monthly payment out of your bank account. In return, the lender will drop your interest rate.
Tip 2-Pay off Your Student Loans as Early as Possible
The 2nd tip is pay-back your student loans as soon as possible. The less time it takes to pay back your loan the more money you will save. If possible, I suggest paying more than your monthly dues. Here’s an example, let’s say you have picked a student loan consolidation program and you have $60,000 in student loans with an interest rate of 5.5%. Your new student loan consolidation program gives you the option of a 30 year repayment term or 10 year repayment term. Which option will you pick? Well the choice is up to you, but let me break it down. If you pay off your loan in 10 years you will end up paying roughly $90,000. If you pay off your loan in 30 years you will end up paying roughly $120,000, a difference of roughly $30,000. If you went with the option to pay off your loan in 10 years it will end up saving you a lot of money.
Tip 3-Consolidate Your Variable Rate Stafford Loans
The 3rd tip is to consolidate your variable rate Stafford Loans no later than 6 months after you graduate? If you have variable rate Stafford loans the interest rate will rise 0.6% 6 months after your graduate. You can find out the status and type of your loan by calling your financial aide department at your college.