Clearly there are advantages and disadvantages to consolidating your student loan debt. To decide if this is the correct option for you, talk to your bank to determine what interest rate they will charge, and then you can compare that to what you are currently paying.
While student loan debt consolidation works for many people, it is not the only option. There are a number of other alternatives for those who do not believe debt consolidation is the right path for them. Below is a list of some other suggested alternatives.
Other alternatives when dealing with student loan debt
- An alternative low payment option. Most student loan lenders are aware of the difficulties of paying back student loans, and will offer smaller monthly payments. Some lenders may also be more lenient and understanding to students.
- Loan serialization. In this situation, one lender will buy the student loan from another lender. This gives the student the ability to pay back their loans one at a time. This differs from a consolidation in that the loans are paid separately. With this option payments tend to be lower, but the repay period could be longer.
- Loan forgiveness programs. Programs such as these will pay for or get rid of a portion of your debt in exchange for certain types of work. For example, certain occupations are provided with given amounts of money if they are unable to make payments.
- Making a budget and repaying your student loan debts on your own. If all else fails, this may be your only other option.
If you don’t qualify for a debt consolidation loan, another option to investigate would be a Chapter 13 Wage Earner Plan – that is, if student loans will agree to the plan. The loan must be paid in full during the Chapter 13 Plan; if it is not not paid off in full during the plan, then any remaining balance is non-dischargeable and you would still be responsible for paying it off.