SallieMae won't cut me a deal, who else will?
January 29, 2009 8:12 PM   Subscribe

How can I consolidate my PRIVATE student loans, to make my financial life a little easier?

I recently consolidated my student loans through the Federal Loan Consolidation program. My payments are now over $100/mo less than before, which is wonderful... but I could only consolidate my Federal Loans, the Staffords and such. I have about $40,0001. in loans through Sallie-god-damn-Mae, though, that I'm paying $250/mo on. I tried consolidating those through Sallie Mae, but $40,000 isn't quite enough to consolidate with them, and now they're not even doing private loan consolidation. This is bad.

There are private loan consolidation places, but... who the hell do I trust to a) be legit, b) not go out of business or go bust due to the stupid economy, c) be *really* legit, d) not screw me over. Honestly, I don't know where to look. This is, as always, where MeFi comes in.

If it helps, right now I make around $30k a year, before taxes, insurance, and other deductions at my day job, and a varying second income of $400-$800/mo (on average) at my night job. Actually, my night job netted me $17,0000 last year, but that was my only source of income and it was five days a week—I'm down to four days a week now. I started my day job in October, after graduating in May. I don't have the cleanest record in borrower history... failing out of college, missing payments due to low income, and general idiocy, but I've begun to make up for it.

Who can I trust to take these private loans, and say, "Buddy, you can pay us $200 a month, instead."? Help!

1. All told, having only this much in loans isn't as bad as some people, but since I'm working two jobs to make sure my head stays as much above water as it can right now... well, I don't want to hear any finger-waggling on financial irresponsibility.
posted by SansPoint to Work & Money (5 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
what are your rates? that can help us help you. also, do consider posting this at or reading other people's experiences in their forums.
posted by citystalk at 8:55 PM on January 29, 2009

I don't have a direct answer either, but I wanted to stress citytalk's recommendation — surf around a bit at FatWallet, and post this question (with your interest rates) there. They're knowledgeable and friendly to newcomers.
posted by electric_counterpoint at 9:12 PM on January 29, 2009

Response by poster: My private loans are mostly at 5.25%, save for one at 4.75% and one at (ouch) 9.25%
posted by SansPoint at 9:18 PM on January 29, 2009

You might also be able to consolidate those private loans with the DOE if you bother them enough. YMMV.
posted by saxamo at 9:53 PM on January 29, 2009

I had pretty good luck consolidating my Direct loans with Graduate Leverage and I've noticed that they have a link offering to consolidate Private loans for recent graduates.

Alternatively, switch your lower interest rate loans to minimum payments (30 year schedule) and make the highest payments you can afford toward your higher interest rate loan. (That is, assuming you don't have any high interest rate credit card debt)

Yet another alternative, seek out a lower interest rate personal loan from a credit union or other bank which would allow you to pay off one or more of your other loans, starting with the high interest rate loan.

OR you could ask one of your lenders to buy your other loans ... that's more of a long shot, but it is possible.

Seconding FatWallet finance forums - good resource, but only for ideas or a variety of thought. I'd use that information as a starting point and do additional, more detailed research after finding out which areas/lenders/types of loans to consider.

Also, look into loan repayment assistance programs (LRAP) - some are offered by schools, others by states, and recently, at the federal level. Generally these apply to folks in public interest or public sector work.
posted by unclezeb at 10:36 PM on January 29, 2009

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