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    Repaying And Consolidating Private Student Loans

    Private loans are not the same as federal loans. They have fewer repayment options, and can be tougher to manage on a tight budget. Learn how to manage them and begin researching consolidation options here.
    Updated: November 19, 2015

    What You’ll Learn

    • Differences between private and federal student loans
    • How your interest rate and repayment options can vary
    • How you can consolidate private loans

    Private loans, sometimes called alternative or commercial loans, are student loans provided by financial institutions or other organizations—not the federal government. They are used to bridge the gap between your financial aid and your cost of attendance, or if you do not qualify for other forms of financial aid.

    Some student loan servicers collect payments for both private loans and federal loans, so it can be very confusing to figure out what types of loans you have. Here are some tips to help. For starters, take a look at some of the main differences between federal and private loans.

    Federal Stafford LoansPrivate Student Loans
    Flexible Repayment OptionsYesSometimes
    Ability to Postpone PaymentsYesSometimes
    Fixed Interest RateYesSometimes
    Forgiveness/Cancellation OptionsYes, if you qualifyRarely
    6 Month Grace PeriodYesRarely

    Where Can I Get A Private Loan?

    Private loans are generally offered by schools, states, or financial institutions, including:

    • Banks/student loan lenders
    • Credit unions
    • Credit card companies
    • Directly from the school (institutional loans)

    While credit card companies sometimes offer student loans, these loans are not the same thing as a credit card.

    How Do I Know If I Should Get A Private Loan?

    You should always maximize the amount of federal student loans you borrow before taking out private loans. Private loans can be much tougher to manage and repay than federal student aid because they tend to offer fewer options for repayment and postponement (deferment/forbearance).

    Getting Private Loans: A Tricky Process

    Applying for a private loan is a lot like applying for other types of bank loans. The lender will have to check your (and your co-signer's) credit before approving you. Sometimes, you have to apply first and learn what repayment options and terms you qualified for afterward. These details can vary dramatically depending on who your lender is—but in general, the terms may be less flexible than federal loans, especially if you find yourself struggling to make your payments. Remember to do all of your homework before accepting any loans.

    Misleading Interest Rates

    Although many private lenders advertise low interest rates, these are typically difficult to qualify for without a co-signer and many students receive variable interest rates. So, your private loan's rate may start out higher than the advertised rate—and can then rise over time depending on changes to your credit score and to interest rates in general.

    Here's a worst-case scenario of how your private loan interest rate could change (risk varies by lender):

    Private Loan Interest Rates

    Example is based on findings from a 2011 report by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau.

    Co-signer Requirements

    Private lenders often require a co-signer to get a good interest rate, and some always require one. A co-signer agrees to repay the entire loan if you don't or can't pay as agreed.

    Some lenders offer a co-signer release after you make 1 or 2 years of on-time payments. Generally speaking, though, there are few ways to remove your co-signer once they've signed the form, so this person may always share the responsibility of repaying the loan with you.

    Can I Consolidate My Private Loans?

    Some private lenders will allow you to consolidate the private loans they service with other private loans you have borrowed. Check with your servicer to find out. You can find these lenders online easily enough by searching terms such as “private student loan consolidation” or “private student loan refinancing.”

    SALT does not endorse or comment on particular lenders. However, we do recommend that you review a lender on the Better Business Bureau and the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) before choosing them. The CFPB is the resident student lender watch dog and will have a lot of information on complaints made against student loan lenders. Reviewing these sites will help you choose a lender who has a good reputation with their borrowers.

    Private Health Professions Loans

    Some private lenders offer special student loans for students entering into healthcare fields. These may seem very similar to federal loans for health professionals, but keep in mind that these have the same drawbacks as any other private loan. Generally speaking, they offer fewer repayment and postponement options, and they rarely allow for student loan forgiveness.

    How Do I Know If My Loan Is A Private Loan?

    All of your federal Stafford, PLUS, and Perkins student loans are listed in the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS); however, federal Title VII loans (including Health Professions Student Loans or Loans for Disadvantaged Students) are not. You can find these loans, as well as any private loans, on your credit report, which you can get for free once every 12 months at AnnualCreditReport.

    Watch out: Some servicers manage both federal loans and private loans. If you can't tell whether your loan is federal or private, contact your servicer directly.

    Can I Use Bankruptcy To Discharge My Private Student Loans?

    Even though private student loans may seem like other types of loans you can get from a financial institution, they are still considered an educational debt and are very difficult to discharge in bankruptcy. A qualified bankruptcy attorney can help you determine if you might be eligible for this kind of debt relief.

    Who Can Help Me If I Have A Dispute Concerning My Private Loan?

    Many lenders now have ombudsman or enhanced customer care centers that handle escalated consumer issues. Making a phone call to one of those centers or sending a detailed, polite letter or email can be a good way to work out these kinds of disputes.

    If you still aren't satisfied, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) helps students resolve private education loan issues with their loan holders. You can file a dispute on the CFPB website. The CFPB ombudsman—a neutral mediator—can then help you and your lender find a resolution.

    Devolución y consolidación de préstamos estudiantiles privados

    Actualizado: 19 noviembre 2015

    Lo que aprenderás:

    • Diferencias entre los préstamos estudiantiles federales y privados
    • Cómo puede variar la tasa de interés y las opciones de devolución
    • Cómo usar tu informe de crédito para revisar tus préstamos privados

    ¿Puedo consolidar mis préstamos privados?

    Algunos prestamistas privados permiten que consolides los préstamos privados que administran con otros préstamos privados que hayas obtenido.

    Para obtener más información, pregúntale a tu administrador de préstamos.

    Nota:

    También puedes echar un vistazo a estos prestamistas de consolidación de préstamos privados que encontramos.

    Estos programas cambian con frecuencia, por lo que siempre debes investigar por cuenta propia antes de elegir un prestamista.

    La intención de esta lista es brindar recursos, pero no debe considerarse una recomendación.

    Si encuentras un programa de consolidación de préstamos privados que no está en la lista, no quiere decir que sea una mala elección.

    Lo único que significa es que se nosotros no lo vimos.

    Consolidación de préstamos estudiantiles privados con Cedar Education Lending

    Mínimo:

    $7,500

    Máximo:

    $125,000 en deuda de pregrado y $175,000 en deuda de graduado

    Plazo de devolución:

    Plazo de devolución de hasta 15 años

    Anticipos:

    Sí, sin penalizaciones

    Tasa de interés:

    Oscila entre LIBOR 3 meses + 4.25% - 6.75%

    Comisión de apertura:

    1.00%

    Opción de devolución solo por intereses:

    Hasta 4 años para prestatarios elegibles

    Liberación del aval:

    Opcional después de 12 meses de cuotas de capital e intereses a tiempo

    Requisitos de ingreso:

    Confiable, ingreso constante de al menos $2,000 al mes

    Consolidación de préstamos estudiantiles privados con cuGrad

    Mínimo:

    $7,500

    Máximo:

    $125,000 en deuda de pregrado y $175,000 en deuda de graduado

    Plazo de devolución:

    Plazo de devolución de hasta 15 años

    Anticipos:

    Sí, sin penalizaciones

    Tasa de interés:

    Oscila entre LIBOR 3 meses + 4.25% - 6.75%

    Comisión de apertura:

    1.00%

    Opción de devolución solo por intereses:

    Hasta 4 años para prestatarios elegibles

    Liberación del aval:

    Opcional después de 12 meses de cuotas de capital e intereses a tiempo

    Requisitos de ingreso:

    Confiable, ingreso constante de al menos $2,000 al mes. El monto del préstamo debe ser menor de lo que ganarías en un año; los ingresos del aval son tomados en cuenta para estos requisitos

    Otros:

    Debes haberte graduado de una institución educativa elegible de cuGrad

    Préstamos de consolidación con DEAL

    Mínimo:

    Ninguno

    Máximo:

    Ninguno

    Plazo de devolución:

    Hasta 25 años

    Anticipos:

    Sí, sin penalizaciones

    Tasa de interés:

    Tasas fijas de la tasa anual superior a 10 años del FHLB + 2% - 3%, tasas variables de LIBOR 3 meses + 1.5% - 2.5%

    Comisión de apertura:

    0% para los solicitantes de Dakota del Norte y 3% para los demás

    Opción de devolución solo por intereses:

    No

    Liberación del aval:

    Opcional después de 48 meses consecutivos de cuotas de capital e intereses a tiempo

    Requisitos de ingreso:

    Ninguno, pero debe cumplir con los requisitos de crédito

    Otros:

    Debe ser un residente de Dakota del Norte o un residente de otra parte con al menos un préstamo DEAL consolidado

    Refinanciación de préstamos para graduados con SoFi

    Mínimo:

    $5,000

    Máximo:

    $200,000

    Plazo de devolución:

    5, 10 ó 15 años

    Anticipos:

    Sí, sin penalizaciones.

    Tasa de interés:

    5.74% - 6.875% fija

    Comisión de apertura:

    Ninguno

    Opción de devolución solo por intereses:

    Ninguno

    Liberación del aval:

    Ninguno

    Requisitos de ingreso:

    Ninguno, pero debe tener empleo y cumplir con los requisitos del crédito

    Otros:

    Descuento del 0.25% en la tasa de interés si realiza los pagos con AutoPay.

    Debes haber asistido a una universidad elegible

    Consolidación de préstamos privados con SunTrust

    Mínimo:

    $7,500

    Máximo:

    $75,000 con título de bachillerato, límite agregado de $150,000, y $150,000 para graduados, límite agregado de $250,000

    Plazo de devolución:

    Hasta 25 años

    Anticipos:

    Sí, sin penalizaciones.

    Tasa de interés:

    Las tasas fijas oscilan entre 6.55% - 9.8% y las tasas variables oscilan entre 4.85% - 7.96%

    Comisión de apertura:

    Ninguno

    Opción de devolución solo por intereses:

    Ninguno

    Liberación del aval:

    Opcional después de 48 meses consecutivos de cuotas de capital e intereses a tiempo

    Requisitos de ingreso:

    Debe cumplir con los requisitos de crédito.

    Otros:

    Descuento del 0.25% en la tasa de interés por realizar los pagos con AutoPay y un 0.25% adicional si realizas los pagos desde una cuenta bancaria de SunTrust

    Consolidación de préstamos privados con Wells Fargo

    Mínimo:

    $5,000

    Máximo:

    $40,000 - $100,000 según el crédito, límite agregado de $100,000 incluidas todas las otras deudas educativas

    Plazo de devolución:

    Hasta 15 años

    Anticipos:

    Sí, sin penalizaciones

    Tasa de interés:

    Las tasas variables oscilan desde Prima + 1.0% - 5.75% y las tasas fijas oscilan desde el 8.5% al 13.3%

    Comisión de apertura:

    Ninguno

    Opción de devolución solo por intereses:

    Ninguno

    Liberación del aval:

    Opcional después de 24 meses consecutivos de cuotas de capital e intereses a tiempo

    Requisitos de ingreso:

    Debe cumplir con los requisitos de crédito

    Otros:

    Hasta el 0.25% de reducción en la tasa de interés para autodébito, hasta el 0.5% de reducción en la tasa de interés al tener una cuenta Wells Fargo que califique

    Recuerda, es posible que haya otras opciones de consolidación privada. Asegúrate de investigar un poco para encontrar la adecuada para ti.

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