A study by the National Post-Secondary Student Aid reveals that the average student debt is $23,186 after graduation. In addition, college students are likely to have multiple student loans that they must start paying back upon graduation. Federal and private student loans can be consolidated into a single loan, necessitating only one monthly repayment. There are advantages and disadvantages when you decide to consolidate your student loan.Advantages of Loan ConsolidationConsolidating your student loans simplifies your finances. You will only have to make a single repayment each month, making it easier to keep track of your payments. You will be less likely to forget making payments on time. Keep in mind that late payment charges eat up a lot of cash.When you consolidate your loans, you may be able to lengthen the term of the loan. This will make the monthly repayment amount much smaller and more affordable.You may also be able to ask for deferment and forbearance. This will allow you to delay payment for up to three years in the event that you cannot find work. Other factors such as illness, financial hardship or going back to school can be a basis for loan deferment.Disadvantages of Loan ConsolidationAs a rule, you may be able to get a lower interest rate when you consolidate your loan because the total principal amount will be high. However, this is not necessarily true for those who have federal student debts, especially if the loan is subsidized.It will be difficult to consolidate student debt if you have poor or no credit history. If you have bad credit, you won’t be able to borrow money unless you have a cosigner who will be financially responsible for your loan in case of default. A cosigner with excellent credit is also necessary if you want to get the best possible terms on your loan.College students with federal student loans may be eligible for debt forgiveness programs if they happen to work in certain public sectors such as the military, nursing or teaching. This opportunity will be lost if you consolidate your loan. Also, college students are usually given a grace period of six months after graduation before they have to start paying back their loans. This grace period may be lost in the event of loan consolidation.Your finances will be greatly simplified if you consolidate your student loans. Just make sure that the benefits you get far outweigh the disadvantages.
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