Consolidating your student loans, whether they are federal or private, makes a lot of sense. Instead of managing multiple loan payments you make just one consolidated payment each for your federal and/or private loans. Doing so frees up more of your money each month to pay other bills and, depending on the terms of your consolidated loans, you may have more time to pay them back. You may also pay less in interest.
While consolidation is a great idea, there are options that can work out even better. By taking advantage of certain government programs, you can get all or part of your debts paid off through community or private service in your profession. Did you know that if you are a doctor or nurse and commit your services for a certain period to help people in low income areas, then you can have up to $50,000 of your student loan paid off through the National Health Services Corps? Talk about killing two birds with one stone. Not only do you get to help out the community but you also have a huge weight lifted off your shoulders. You also gain some invaluable experience which looks great on your resume. Similarly, if you are in the teaching profession, you can take advantage of certain benefits available through the Department of Education. If you agree to tutor low-income students in designated areas for a prescribed period, the government may forgive your federal student loans entirely. Lawyers also have the ability to have their debt reduced or eliminated by working pro bono (or at low wages) providing legal consultation services to the less fortunate for a certain amount of time.
Always bear in mind that paying off your student loan does not have to become a burden. If things get rough, there is help available. If you do all your research and exercise the options that we’ve described in this article, you have a great opportunity to help out the community and get your loans paid off sooner than later.