Every spring for the past few years I have had the pleasure of volunteering for Lemoninster Credit Union’s CU Reality Fair, a HS financial literacy program. The students are provided with a profile based on their career and educational goals, a budget sheet that lists a monthly net salary and budget line items. Students must visit a series of tables to “purchase their line items” and make sure their budgets balance. I man the student loan table discuss their student loan debt upon graduation and repayment options. It is a wonderful program that provides many students a “Reality Check” about what financial and life decisions they will be facing: balancing career & personal goals and handling unexpected financial setbacks. To learn more read the following article from the Worcestet Telegram & Gazette about the event at Clinton HS. If your school would like to host a CU Reality Fair, contact Ingrid Adade at LCU.
In the last year I have begun working with recent college grads who are struggling under the burden of their monthly federal student loans. Consolidating the loans in many instances can lower monthly payments by 2/3 in my experience. There a few things to consider when consolidating.
1. You can only consolidate federal student loans.
2. There are 7 different repayment options and you may not be eligible for all of them, but you should be eligible for 3-4.
3. With consolidation your interest rates on existing loans will be averaged, so some of your interest rates will be reduced, while others will increase.
4. While your monthly payments will be reduced with consolidation, you may owe more overall.
5. You can only consolidate federal student loans once.
6. You can pay off you federal consolidated loan early without penalty, which woul reduce the overall loan debt.
Choose your consolidation option wisely for the greatest benefit. If you need student loan debt counseling, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.