college

Can I consolidate student loans?

Don TaylorQuestionDear Dr. Don,
Someone recently told me you could consolidate all student loans, or the government is working on that to happen in the near future. My daughter has federal and private loans in her name. I have a federal parent PLUS Loan and private student loans for her in my name.

Would we be able to consolidate them since they are all for her, so I or she can make one payment a month instead of trying to keep up with six different payments due at different times of the month? I opened up a checking account specifically for this in our names so I can keep better track of it all.
-- Perplexed Parent

AnswerDear Perplexed,
There has been some recent news on changes to student loan programs, but the holy grail you seek of being able to consolidate public, private, student and parent loans into one consolidated student loan currently does not exist.

You want to keep the federal loans separate because these loans have deferment, repayment and consolidation options that aren't available with private student loans. Lenders aren't going to allow you to shift your parent loans to your student because of the increased credit risk.

A strategy of consolidating eligible student loans could reduce the number of outstanding student loans for you and your daughter, but you won't be able to get it down to one loan with one borrower and one lender.

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