Can I Consolidate My Student Loans While I’m Still in School?
The answer is yes, although it will differ based on whether you have a private student loan or a federal student loan. Consolidating your student loan can result in lower interest rates and lower monthly payments, in exchange for increasing the length of your student loan.
Federal Student Loan Consolidation
Students who have taken out a Stafford or Perkins loan can not consolidate their loans while still in college. Students can only consolidate these loans during the grace period after graduation or after repayment starts. Parents who have taken out a Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) can consolidate the loan while their student is still in school and any time after they graduate. You will end up consolidating your loans through another lender and will start a repayment program of some type.
Private Student Loan Consolidation
Private student loan consolidation is a little different then federal student loan consolidation. Since there is no government regulation you can consolidate your loan whenever you please. All the normal rules apply when taking out a private student loan because its just like any other loan you get. Consolidation will combine all your private student loan debts into one debt. It will help reduce interest rates and lower monthly payments which can help lead to improving your credit score. The length of your loan, however, will increase.
If you are a parent and have multiple student loans for multiple children in college you can combine them in your efforts to consolidate when dealing with private loans. This is not the case for federal student loans. Consolidation might be the route to go if you are having trouble making your payments on time or are just making the minimum payment every month. It’s always a good idea to consolidate because continuing to pay minimum monthly payments will lower your credit score as well as push you closer to defaulting on your loan.