Advice on consolidating student loans

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Undergraduate students completing their third year or beyond may borrow ,500 for the year, with no more than ,500 in subsidized loans as a dependent.

The total loan amount increases to ,500 for independent students, with the same subsidized limit.

Independent first-year students can borrow up to ,500, with no more than ,500 made up of subsidized loans.

Second-year undergraduate dependent students can borrower ,500, with no more than ,500 in subsidized loans; independent students may borrower ,500, with the same ,500 subsidized loan limit.

Direct Unsubsidized loans are available to both undergraduate and graduate level students, and there is no requirement to prove financial need to receive funding.

The interest rate offered to undergraduate students requesting Direct Unsubsidized loans is a fixed 4.45%; graduate or professional degree students receive a fixed interest rate of 6%.

Graduate and professional students are all considered independent and therefore can borrow up to ,500 per year in unsubsidized loans.

The aggregate loan limit for undergraduate students for all years is ,500 with no more than ,000 in subsidized loans; graduate and professional students may borrow up to 8,500 including undergraduate loans, with no more than ,500 in subsidized loans.​​​​Another option for students to finance their education is the Perkins Loan program.

Direct Subsidized loans that are in deferment while a student is still attending school accrue interest, but this is paid by the federal government, making them more affordable for borrowers who have a financial need.

Grad PLUS loans are offered through the Department of Education, and borrowers with a strong credit history are eligible to request funds through the program.

Borrowers receive a fixed interest rate of 7% with Grad PLUS loans, and they may borrow up to the full cost of attendance for fulfilling their graduate degree program, less any other financial aid received.

Interest accrues on Grad PLUS loans from the time funds are dispersed, but borrowers do not owe payments until six months after leaving school.​​​​ Parent PLUS loans are similar to Grad PLUS loans, but the parent of the student is the primary borrower.

This program was made available to parents who want to pay for a child’s education but do not have the funds to contribute out of pocket.

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