One of the great things about student loans today is that you have options that were not available just a few years ago. Never assume that you are completely locked in. Do your research and find out where you stand.
For example, just because you used one company for your loans does not mean you have to use that same company when you are ready to consolidate student debt. On the contrary. It is your right to consolidate student loans with any lender you choose. If you started with Company X but Company Y offers a better deal, go for it.
So go out on the hunt. Compare interest rates and other incentives before you decide to remain with the same company your original loans came from. Consolidating college loans is where you are supposed to save as much money as you can. Be a bargain shopper instead of someone who buys the first thing they see.
Many lenders will have a minimum balance requirement for a consolidation loan. If your balance is lower than their figure, look around until you find one that's right. Every borrower has specific needs when it comes to consolidation and there are enough lenders out there that finding the right one is always possible.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|