If you are one of the millions of Americans struggling to manage multiple student loan payments and are finding it difficult just to make the minimum monthly payments, then you may be considering consolidating your student loans. Student loan consolidation combines all your student debts into one loan, which eliminates multiple payments. You are only responsible for paying the one monthly loan payment. In addition, the monthly payment amount is typically less than the amount you are currently paying toward your loans per month.
Federal Student Loans
Although American Education Services (AES) previously offered federal student loan consolidation services, due to changes in consolidation requirements, they no longer consolidate federal loans. While there are a few private lenders who do still consolidate federal loans, if you use them you will lose the benefits of your federal loan, such as forbearance and deferment options. You will also become ineligible for loan forgiveness programs.
If you are interested in federal student loan consolidation, you will want to refer to the Federal Direct Loan Program through the Department of Education.
Private Student Loans
AES does not offer private student loan consolidation.
Other Student Loan Consolidation Options
Although AES does not offer consolidation services, you do have alternatives to consider. AES is part of Fedloan servicing, which does offer consolidation options for private loans. Fedloan is part of the Federal Direct Loan Program, so they do offer consolidation of federal student loans. Not only can you consolidate your federal loans through this program, but you can also choose from a variety of repayment plans.
There are many benefits to consolidating your federal student loans through Fedloan. You can choose the lender you wish to service your loan, and the interest rate will be fixed. You may choose a Pay as You Earn (PAYE), Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE), Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) or Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) (in some cases) repayment plan.
In some cases, the PSLF benefit may be forfeited if you choose to consolidate your federal student loans. This can be extremely helpful if you have having trouble making the minimum monthly payments on your current loans.
Know Your Loans
In order to make the best decision for your specific situation, you must understand your current student loan debt, the type of loans you have, and the associated interest rates. You will need this information to compare to the consolidation loan options so you can make sure you are getting the best deal.