Is Direct loan consolidation the right choice for you?
If you’re considering direct loan consolidation as a way of managing your student loan debt more easily, the certified credit counselors at American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) can help.
As a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing help for people in debt, we offer free credit counseling sessions and can provide guidance about the many ways of paying off student loans, including direct loan consolidation. Depending on the number of loans you have and your payment history, direct loan consolidation may or may not be the best option for you.
When you’re ready to admit “I need help with my debt” and you contact us for a free credit counseling session, our credit counselors will help you get a clear picture of your finances and lay out the options for paying down your debt — from direct loan consolidation to student loan forgiveness and deferment and forbearance. We’ll help you evaluate the pros and cons of each debt relief solution and guide you on how to pay off debt most effectively.
Direct loan consolidation: pros and cons
Direct loan consolidation can help to simplify repayment of student loans by bundling multiple loans into a single new loan. Rather than making multiple payments each month, you’ll be writing just one check. If your original loans had variable interest rates, direct loan consolidation may allow you to convert the interest rate to a fixed rate for the life of the loan, providing more predictability.
Direct loan consolidation does not always lower your interest rates. In fact, after consolidation your interest rates may be slightly higher. And you are likely to lose any benefits like interest rate discounts, rebates or forgiveness options from your original loans after a direct loan consolidation.
Applying for Direct loan consolidation with help from ACCC.
At ACCC, our credit counselors can offer guidance on applying for direct loan consolidation and help you understand the application process.
ACCC counselors can also discuss other options for managing student debt, including:
- Alternate loan repayment plans where your monthly payment may be based on your income, extended over a longer period of time, or set to a lower amount that will increase over the life of the loan.
- Deferment and forbearance arrangements that allow you to temporarily postpone or reduce your monthly payments.
- Student loan forgiveness plans, typically available for people entering certain fields such as the military, health services or community service.