TC aid office offers help with loan consolidation

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN
The Tabor College Office of Student Financial Assistance is offering its expertise to students and parents regarding college-loan consolidation.

“Loan consolidation is the opportunity to combine student loans together into one big loan and lock in the interest rate for the life of the loan, and possibly lowering one’s monthly repayments on student loans,” said Bruce Jost, director of student financial assistance.

Because loan consolidation is part of the federal aid programs, anyone who has federal student loans can benefit.

The Federal Stafford Loan, Federal Perkins Loan and Federal PLUS (Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students) are eligible to be consolidated.

The Stafford Loan is based on a variable interest rate adjusted annually on July 1.

The interest rate for the Stafford Loan, said Jost, is at an all-time low of 2.77 percent during in-school, grace and deferment periods, and 3.37 percent during repayment.

However, these interest rates will go up July 1 by 2 percentage points.

Jost said that by consolidating, the interest rate becomes fixed and will not adjust each year.

“If a student consolidates before June 30, he or she has the opportunity to lock in the lowest possible interest rate available to them and possibly lowering their monthly repayments.

“It is important that this process be completed before June 30 to have a chance at historically low rates.”

To apply for loan consolidation, it is recommended that one contact the servicer of their student loans. The two most common loan servicers are Sallie Mae and the federal government.

Sallie Mae an be contacted at 1-888-272-5543 or ww.smartloan.com. Log on to the federal government’s loan consolidation Web site at www.loanconsolidation.ed.gov.

Tabor’s Office of Student Financial Assistance is willing to answer any questions, including identifying lenders, consolidation contacts and eligibility, regardless of institutions attended.

Those outside of Hillsboro can call the toll-free number 1-800-TABOR-99. Those in Hillsboro should call 947-3121.

The office also may be contacted by e-mailing finaid@tabor.edu.

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