How to Reduce Loan Costs

USA TODAY, August 1998 | Go to article overview

How to Reduce Loan Costs


Students who must borrow money for college should take steps now to reduce their repayment burden, suggests Tess Van Duvall. educational debt management consultant. Emory University, Atlanta. Ga. Her primary advice to those seeking educational loans is to "try to borrow less than you think you will need. You can always borrow more later at no additional cost. When people have less money, they try to make it work. When you borrow more, you end up using it."

Other tips Van Duvall gives on how students can manage their educational loans better include:

* Pay interest on unsubsidized and private loans while still in school or even during any deferment or forbearance period. "For example, interest on a $20,000 loan could be as little as $16-20 per month. If students pay that monthly interest now, they can save themselves thousands of dollars in interest over the life of their repayment, depending on the amount borrowed"

* Ask lenders about repayment options such as graduated payments, income-sensitive repayment plans, or interest-only deferment options.

* If you choose to consolidate, try not to not consolidate loans with different interest rates. "If a student consolidates a Perkins Loan (five percent interest rate) with a Stafford Loan (8.25% rate), both loans merged together might have a mean interest rate of around seven percent. You lose the benefits of the lower interest rate loan." If you are thinking of consolidating several loans, first ask lenders or servicers about alternatives such as loan purchasing and serialization. …

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