Once you have been in college for one or two years, you may start getting offers to refinance student loans. The offers will all sound tempting, but you should definitely get your facts straight before going through with anything. There are many things you will need to discover and compare.
Refinancing is generally a good idea at any stage of your education. You can save a lot of money on interest and finance charges by consolidating into one loan. However, you want to be careful that you do not actually make things more difficult for yourself in the long run.
1. You need to keep track of the interest rates being offered. Know what the interest rates on your current loans are, and what interest rates may be offered in the future. You should also be aware of the current average interest rate so you can be sure the rate you are being offered is fair. Additionally, find out if the interest rate being offered in the refinance is a fixed or adjustable rate.
2. Find out what the payment terms will be. If you are still enrolled in college, you should be able to continue holding off payments on the principal until you have graduated. This is called an economic deferment. Interest will likely accrue during the deferment, and you should be able to pay that monthly without penalty.
3. Ask the company or lending institution when payments will be expected to start. In most cases, you should be given at least six months from the date of your graduation before you have to start paying on your student loans. However, when you refinance student loans the rules can change. Good companies will still give you the six months grace period.
4. It can be beneficial to you to refinance your loans every year or two, keeping them consolidated and with one company. Additionally, you will definitely want to refinance when your education is complete to make the loans more manageable. Make sure that the terms of the refinance do not exclude this option.
5. Try to choose a company that can work with you over time to continue refinancing until your education is complete. When that time comes, you may need to make additional arrangements as you seek out employment in your new career. The company should also be willing to accept early payment of the loans without penalty, in case you find yourself able to pay ahead, or even pay off the loan early.
Joe Eitel is an accomplished freelance writer who is an expert in the student loan consolidation field. If you'd like to learn more about how student loan consolidation works, visit: Consolidating Student Loans