Not many students know how to apply for a fixed rate loan and the pros and cons of it. Fixed rate student loans have several advantages as well as disadvantages. As the name suggests, one of the good things about it is that borrowers do not have to worry about fluctuating interest rates. But before you apply for a loan, you have to know what you are getting yourself into.
Fixed rate student loans are can be attained by consolidating several student loans into one master loan. By consolidating your educational loans, you will get to repay all the money you have borrowed with one flat interest rate to only one lender. This is indeed very simple since you do not have to go through the trouble of repaying the loans individually to various lenders. Yet the fixed interest rate given by the consolidation may backfire since you can end up with a slightly higher interest rate. This is due to the average interest rate of the consolidated loans is rounded up to the nearest 1/8 of a percent (0.125, 0.25, 0.375, 0.5, and so forth). The lowest interest rate of a consolidation loan is 4.70%, while the highest rate would be 8.25% for Stafford loans and 9% for PLUS loans.
As the consolidation combines all your educational aids together, you will end up with a great amount of debt and a longer repayment term. Generally, the repayment term of fixed rate student loans ranges from 10 to 30 years. The length of the repayment period depends on the amount of the loan. If you can afford it, you are advised to stick with the 10 year repayment plan. Longer repayment term indeed means lower monthly payment (in particular cases, the borrower can save up to 50% per month). However, there is one thing that you have to keep in mind: the longer the period, the higher the interest rate.
Another disadvantage of loan consolidation is that you are not allowed to combine federal and private educational loans. To consolidate these two types of loan, you must separate them. Federal student financial aids are easier to consolidate since many loans such as the Perkins, PLUS, Stafford, HEAL, SLS, NSL, and other federal educational aids can be consolidated together. On the other hand, you may merge the private student loans by finding the right lenders, such as NextStudent, Student Loan Network, or Chase.