But if a student or parent has loans made prior to July 1, 2006, it may pay to consolidate because those loans have a variable rate. Consolidating will result in a fixed rate.
Brubacher advises parents who have questions to call the financial aid officer at the school where the student attends. The officer can research your loan history and even calculate the effect of consolidating or not consolidating those loans made prior to July 1, 2006.
He also advised students and parents to stick with their current provider—or at least carefully check into companies offering loan services through mail or telephone solicitation. They may be start-up companies hoping to drum up business through the rate-increase deadline.
Brubacher said students and parents should be aware they may have more than one loan with their current lender—even if they are making only one payment per month.
He said it is a common practice for lenders to lump payments for multiple loans into a single billing—but that doesn’t mean the loans are consolidated.
Again, checking with the lender or the financial aid officer at the college should resolve any questions.