Welcome to our article on medical school debt: part two! If you’re reading this section you’ve already hopefully read part one and are ready to move forward and learn how to start paying these loans back. Below we’ll talk about how to find your federal loans and what is consolidation!
How to Find Your Medical School (and Other Federal) Loans?
So you’ve gone through college and medical school and know that you have loans but you have no idea how much is owed for each loan and what is it’s interest rate. Remember that in most instances, what happens is that for each semester of college or medical school, a new loan disbursement is made, which means that you have multiple small loans each with possibly different interest rates, different amounts, and even possibly different servicers. You may have gotten the loan from the Federal Government but those loans can be serviced by another entity.
Remember that this does not include private loans that were disbursed from example by Navient or American Education Services. You’ll need to track down those loans on your own and there really isn’t an easy way to find those loans without knowing that you already have them.
Now What? Consolidation.
What is consolidation? It’s exactly what it sounds like. You’re consolidating your Federal loans into one big loan. There are some pros and cons associated with this we highlight below. Most of information is from the horse’s mouth – the Federal Student Aid website.
Pros: You have one large loan to manage now instead of multiple smaller loans. This also means that you have one monthly loan payment instead of multiple loan payments. Thirdly, you’ll usually have a longer time to pay for the loans (can go as high as 30 years) and a chance to choose between variable and fixed rates.
Cons: You may lose out on the benefits of some of the loans (for example the ability to forbear during residency). Also, depending on the interest rate and amount of your loans, there’s a chance the final interest rate for the consolidated amount may be higher than some of the original interest rates for the other original loans you’re trying to consolidate (the final interest rate is a fixed rate based on the weighted average of the loans being consolidated).
There are other details available at the Federal Student Aid website on Consolidation including what loans are eligible, when you can consolidate, etc. In the end, if you’re ready to start paying your loans back, I think consolidation makes the most sense. You only have to make one monthly payment and keep track of everything in one place. Once you’re ready to start paying back, check out part three to learn about some of the repayment programs available.
Did this article help? Do you have other loan repayment strategies that you use? Let us know your thoughts and questions in the comments section below!