The burden of student loans can be overwhelming — $30K, $40K and even $50K in outstanding balances are not particularly uncommon, even for students attending the more affordable state schools. Five years after graduation I found myself in just this scenario with about $35K in loans through Perkins. I never really looked into other options as Perkins was what the institution offered, and I know of many graduates who were not so fortunate and are enduring a life of servitude that cannot be forgiven, even with bankruptcy.
For most student loans there are a number of loan consolidation, forgiveness and forbearance options available. Choosing a consolidator for Perkins is fairly easy; there is only one option: the Federal Consolidation Loan Program. While Perkins traditionally maintains lower interest rates for student loans than most other lenders, it’s easy to find oneself with multiple student loans, including Perkins loan, that would be much more cost-effective if consolidated.
Trying to find the right consolidation program for your student loans isn’t as simple as finding the lowest rate. Things happen. Do they offer debt-reduction or forgiveness for volunteer work or teaching? Is a forbearance possible in cases of hardship? I was fortunate enough to find myself volunteering with the Peace Corps in Peru and reducing my debt at the same time. Creative debt-reduction strategies like these are more important now than ever considering current employment rates. Online classifieds featuring resumes from well credentialed applicants are fairly easy to find and competition to fill these positions can be tough.
Each of the student loan consolidation programs you encounter will create new conditions that you should consider along with the current state of the economy. Additionally, it is recommended that you work with consolidators who specialize in student loans exclusively. Here are some of the best student loan consolidation resources on the web:
www.studentloanconsolidator.com – An informative website with information regarding nearly every type of student loan and consolidation option available.
www.studentaid.ed.gov – The U.S. Department of Education’s site for the funding of education.
The Student Loan Consolidation Calculator – A true student loan calculator that allows you to adjust options including the type of student loan, extension of debt, and subsidization.
If your student loans are becoming hard to bear, it’s important to consider all options and a good student loan consolidation company should keep you informed of these. Government jobs, volunteering, and teaching domestically as well as abroad can greatly reduce, defer and/or erase a significant portion of your debt. For those who have recently graduated and are finding difficulty in locating employment in their profession of choice; now is the time to take advantage of all the student loan consolidation options available to you.