FAQ’s: Private Student Loan Consolidation
Private consolidation loans are credit-based, non-federal student consolidation loans available for qualified students to help lower monthly payments and extend repayment terms. Students existing loans are consolidated into one payment made to one lender under terms that are more favorable to graduates.
Eligibility requirements for private consolidation loans will vary by each lender, but most lenders require you to be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, as well as graduated from an eligible school.
Each lender has established credit requirements in order to qualify for a private consolidation loan. Always ask what these requirements are prior to starting an application to ensure that you meet each individual lenders student loan consolidation requirements.
Applying with a creditworthy cosigner is always recommended for the consolidation of student loans to ensure borrowers qualify for the lowest interest rate possible based on a lenders credit requirements, even if you are creditworthy without a co-signer.
Private Student Loan Amounts
Minimum and maximum loan amounts will also vary with each lender, but many private consolidation loan programs will cover up to $125,000 in undergraduate debt and up to $175,000 in graduate debt.
Rates & Fees
Most private consolidation loans are variable-rate loans, with interest rates varying by lender. Your interest rate may adjust monthly, quarterly, annually, or at some other interval as designated by your lender.
The interest rate on a private consolidation loan is generally determined by adding a variable index (such as LIBOR or T-bill) to a fixed margin. The margin used to determine your private consolidation loan interest rate can vary depending on your creditworthiness. Borrowers who are deemed more creditworthy typically qualify for lower margins and thus lower interest rates.
Fees, like interest rates, will also vary by lender. The types of fees assessed, as well as the amounts charged, will depend on the lender and may also depend on your creditworthiness.
Here are some common lender fees you may run into, but keep in mind that not all lenders will charge all these fees:
Questions to ask when researching private consolidation loan options:
Repaying Your Private Consolidation Loan
Most private consolidation loan programs require payments to be made within 60 days of existing loan payoff. Some private consolidation loans allow you to make interest only payments while others require principal and interest payments. Typically borrowers will pay less interest by choosing a principal and interest payment rather than an interest only option.
Most private consolidation loans do not carry prepayment penalties. A prepayment penalty is a fee assessed if you pay off your student loan early. Be sure to ask the lender if a loan you are applying for carries a prepayment penalty.
Forbearance & Deferment
Forbearance and deferment benefits allow you to postpone making your student loan payments. Forbearance and deferment options will vary depending on each lender for private consolidation loans. Be sure to ask the lender if a loan has any forbearance or deferment options, as well as the eligibility requirements.