One of the options that students want to consider once they start having to pay their student loans back is whether they should consolidate their student loans. Consolidation is the process of bringing all of your debt together into one convenient monthly payment.

Many companies participate in consolidation loans, including companies such as College Avenue student loans, Earnest.com, and others.

You can look at the interest rates of consolidation or refinancing to find out more about what they charge regarding the consolidation of your student loans.

Federal Student Loan Consolidation

It is important to note that only federal loans will qualify for some types of consolidation programs. For example, the Federal Department of Education allows you to take all of your federal loans and put them into one lump sum payment per month making it more convenient to pay your debt each month and to make changes or update your account.

Do your due diligence regarding what the policies of these companies are and make sure you know what you’re getting into before you sign.

If you have a private student loan, is going to be harder to find companies that will consolidate your debt since there are certain regulations involving consolidation that only apply to federal student loans. However, this is up to the discretion of each individual creditor or bank or lending institution and many will do this.

To find out more about whether your private student loan is able to be consolidated or at least put into one payment, you will need to go to that company’s website and find out what your refinance options are.

If consolidation is not offered, you may be offered another way to lower your payments, the interest rate, or both. The goal is to create a payment structure that you can comfortably pay.

This may offer some relief for new graduates who are struggling to increase their paycheck at the beginning of their careers. However, you should only use consolidation as an option for repayment when it is apparent that you cannot afford to pay back the loan per the standard payment plan.

The best way to solve problems is at the front end rather than the end so look into your loan options that you were checking out at the beginning of your college career and make sure you will be able to pay it back in a reasonable time.

When to Consolidate

Check into student loan consolidation or refinancing options once you graduate if you think that you will not be able to afford the regular payments. Many federal loans also offer consolidation but this is often structured as an “income sensitive repayment plan.” President Trump is currently working on some options involving income sensitive payments that may help some get out of debt faster while offering a more affordable payback plan.

Whatever you decide, remember some decisions you can’t backtrack and we don’t know what the future holds regarding the elimination of student loan debt which is a possibility under President Trump.

Just do the best you can to get the best deal on any type of loan you take out and make sure you’re in a field that will pay well enough to justify borrowing the money in the first place.