A common question that we are often asked is I have several Student Loans out, and I’m supposed to begin repayment soon. I’ve heard that if I consolidate my student loans, it can lower monthly payments, and it puts them at a fixed interest rate. Is this right? How do I go about getting my loans consolidated? Is it hard to qualify for it? Do I have to have full-time employment before I consolidate? Lastly, has anyone ever heard about student loan interest being tax deductible?
Let’s start with the easy ones, first
Student loan interest IS tax-deductible. The maximum amount you can claim each year is $2500. If you paid more than that, you can not deduct anything over $2500.
(Can I assume that your starting salary won’t be in excess of $55,000? If you do make more than $55,000, you won’t be able to take the full deduction for student loan interest.)
Do you have to be employed full-time in order to consolidate? No you dont.
Should you consolidate your students loans? Ah, now that’s the tough one. Here’s what the Department of Education has to say about consolidation loans:
“Always Consider the Cost”. You should keep in mind that although consolidation can simplify loan repayment and lower your monthly payment, it also can significantly increase the total cost of repaying your loans. Consolidation offers lower monthly payments by giving borrowers up to 30 years to repay their loans. So, you’ll make more payments and pay more in interest. In fact, in some situations consolidation can double your total interest expense. If you don’t need monthly payment relief, you should compare the cost of repaying your unconsolidated loans against the cost of repaying a consolidation loan. You also should take into account the impact of losing any borrower benefits offered under non-consolidated repayment plans. Borrower benefits, which may include interest rate discounts, principal rebates, or some loan cancellation benefits can significantly reduce the cost of repaying your loans.
Once made, Federal Consolidation Loans cannot be unmade. That’s because the loans that were consolidated have been paid off and no longer exist. Take the time to study your consolidation options before you submit your application. This checklist has been designed to help you determine whether and how you should consolidate your loans.”
I hope that helped, good luck!
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