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These include deferment, forbearance, cancellation, and affordable repayment rights.
Also, federal consolidation loans generally have lower interest rates.
APPLYING FOR DIRECT LOAN CONSOLIDATION The Department generally requires all borrowers to apply for Direct Loan consolidation using the web site. It is very important to review this sheet and check to make sure all of the loans you wanted to consolidate are included in the new consolidation loan.
(Click espanol to find a Spanish version of the on-line application). Be sure to meet the deadline for responding if you think there are problems with the consolidation or if you have decided you do not want to go forward.
This may be a good idea if you want a single monthly payment.
You may also be able to get a better deal if, for example, your credit score is better now than it was when you first took out the private loans.
As you weigh the pros and cons, keep in mind that timing is critical.
Problems often arise if the ex-spouses are no longer in contact.
The good news is that the Department explains on its web site that if any loan you want to consolidate is still in the grace period, you can delay entering repayment on your new Direct Consolidation Loan until closer to your grace period end date.
You can indicate this when you apply, and the consolidation servicer will wait to process your application until the appropriate time.
Another common problem is that partial discharge of a joint consolidation loan under any of the discharge programs (other than death discharge) does not eliminate joint liability for the remaining balance.
Further, borrowers with joint FFEL consolidation loans, according to the Department, may not reconsolidate into Direct Loans and therefore are not eligible for public service loan forgiveness. The fixed rate is based on the weighted average of the interest rates on the loans at the time of consolidation, rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of a percentage point.