If you didn’t read about the prior article about how to get a jump on your student loans, we recommend you go catch up and read it. Before answering the question of whether you should consolidate your student loans, the first thing to figure out is what student loans do you have.
If you are graduating from law school, it is likely that you are graduating with student debt. You’ve likely had to take out student loans each year while in law school as well as bar exam loans. You could potentially have 10+ different loans; each with different loan services, interest rates, and terms!
Loan consolidation can be a great way to bring all your student loans under one, single payment structure. But there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind when determining whether to consolidate.
Specific Questions to Ask Before Consolidating
Have You Used your 6-month Grace Period?
When you graduate, most loans offer a 6-month grace period before repayment starts (the idea being that you want to have sufficient time to find a job, get settled and start making money!). If you consolidate to early, you may
Are you going to be working in Public Interest?
If you are working in public interest, and you expect to work in it for at least 10-years, you be set up to qualify for what is called Public Loan Service Forgiveness. After making 10-years of payments your loans could be completely forgiven.
How Many Loans and Loan Servicers Do You Have?
This is fairly simple, the more loans you have with the more loan servicers the more time it takes to manage your loans. If you are someone who does not mind having auto-payment set up, and know you can make your student loan payments, then it may not make sense to consolidate. Likewise, if you have a different servicer for each loan you have it may make sense to consolidate.
At the end of the day, student loan consolidation depends on your individual financial situation there is a host of resources out there to help you make that determination, but start out at the Department of Education’s website.