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The www.FedPrimeRate.com Personal Finance Blog and Magazine

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Student Loan Consolidation News: The Government-Run William D. Ford Program Will Implement New Restrictions on March 31, 2006

If you have a Direct Student Loan under the government-run William D. Ford consolidation program, or if you plan on consolidating with William D. Ford, then you should know that new restrictions will take effect on March 31, 2006. Further details can be found below in the clip from today's press release:

"The Department of Education has announced that, beginning March 31, 2006, they will restrict the right's of students to consolidate their William D. Ford loans. Currently, any borrower [who] has a William D. Ford student loan (also known as a Direct Student Loan) and one other Federal student loan, can consolidate their student loans with any eligible lender. After March 31st, the Department of Education will restrict which lender that each borrower can consolidate their loans with.

'The Federal Government has announced that, after March 31st, all Two-Step Student Loan Consolidations that are not complete will be invalid,' said Michael Babb. 'We believe that this change in regulations severely restricts the consolidation options available to federal student loan holders because the borrowers will not be allowed to pick who they want to consolidate their loans with.'

The pending Department of Education restrictions will severely limit the choices borrowers have when it comes to consolidating their student loans. This limited choice means borrowers may not get all the benefits available to them through the free Federal Student Loan Consolidation program.

'Even though it is a Federal program, not all consolidation packages offer the same interest rate reduction,' added Babb. 'To ensure that eligible borrowers receive the best interest rate for their consolidation loan, we are encouraging borrowers to do their research and work with a consolidation company that offers the best benefit package. We are also encouraging all borrowers to find a company that offers a secure, e-signature application. Following these two simple rules will ensure borrowers that they are getting the best interest rate available and that they will meet the upcoming March 31st deadline.'

Based in Tampa, Florida, Academic Financial Solutions has saved Federal Student Loan holders millions of dollars by reducing their payments through consolidation. For more information on how to consolidate Student Loan debt, call Toll Free 1-866-416-6333 or visit their Website at http://www.AcademicFinancial.com."

Update: March 24, 2006 - The folks @ StudentLoanConsolidator.com issued a press release on this topic today; snippet below:

"In less than one week, up to 40% of students and college graduates with federal student loans may find themselves unable to consolidate their student loans with the lender of their choice. New regulations from the US Department of Education will restrict the availability of consolidation options for thousands of students around the country, robbing them of their right to choose which companies may help them manage ever-growing student loan debt. If students fail to file a consolidation application before March 30, 2006, they may possibly lose the right to choose their consolidation lender forever.

When the new regulations take effect, students will only be able to consolidate their loans with their current lender, effectively forbidding them from 'shopping around' for lenders offering the most money-saving options. Students who hold loans with the Department of Education plus a private lender, or who wish to reconsolidate previously consolidated college loans will be affected most.

Jonathan Rudy, director of loan consolidation at StudentLoanConsolidator.com, remarked, 'These new regulations, in concert with the Deficit Reduction Act legislation passed earlier in the year, do a great disservice to students and college graduates who want to find a lender that offers them the most money-saving benefits available. Once the deadline passes, affected students will be stuck with whoever currently holds their loans, and it would not surprise me to see borrower benefits suddenly disappear or be drastically cut back as lenders realize these students have no other choices.'

'I cannot emphasize enough that students and graduates need to act immediately to file consolidation applications. Once the clock strikes 11:59 PM on March 30, the window of opportunity closes, and no one knows how long it will remain closed - if it ever reopens,' continued Mr. Rudy.

Student loan consolidation offers the ability to lock in fixed rates, make one payment a month, and cut monthly payments by as much as 60%. Parents with federal PLUS loans are also generally eligible for student loan consolidation as well.

For more information or to consolidate federal student loans, visit http://www.StudentLoanConsolidator.com or call toll-free (877) 328-1565.

Email Customer Service at StudentLoanConsolidator.com for more information; to apply for a student loan consolidation, graduates should visit http://www.StudentLoanConsolidator.com as soon as possible or call toll-free (877) 328-1565.

StudentLoanConsolidator.com is a service of the Student Loan Network (http://www.StudentLoanNetwork.com), an education services company offering students options for managing the entire education life cycle, from getting into their college of choice to financing their education and beyond. The Student Loan Network is based in Quincy, Massachusetts."

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Consolidation Rates Go Up in July; Consolidate Now @ The Best Possible Rate, If You Haven't Already...

Thanks to The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, student loan consolidation rates will be going up on July 1 of this year. But according to a press release issued by the folks at NextStudent.com, you can consolidate your student loans, as low as 2.75% right now.

Here's a snippet from today's press release:

"NextStudent, one of the nation’s premier federal student loan consolidation and education funding companies, is pleased to now offer to qualified borrowers a 2.75 percent fixed student loan consolidation rate, with benefits applied.

The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 recently passed and brought with it major cuts to the federal student loan program along with changes that will negatively impact federal student loan consolidation rates and regulations. Changes are set to take effect July 1, so eligible borrowers now can lock in low rates and reduce payments as much as 70 percent.

According to NextStudent, in-school borrowers can receive a student loan consolidation rate of 4.75 percent, allowing them to avoid the July 1 increase on their federal student loan rates. The company’s borrower incentives include: one easy payment, no prepayment penalties and a longer payment term.

The student loan consolidation program has no fees or costs and is beneficial for borrowers who want to reduce or postpone monthly payments before the July 1 rate increase when it will become more difficult to consolidate. NextStudent offers eligibility determination in one minute to borrowers who want to prevent interest rate hikes on their student loans.

About NextStudent
NextStudent, listed at No. 15 on the Top 100 Consolidating Lenders for fiscal year 2004, is dedicated to helping students and their families find affordable ways to pay for college. NextStudent offers one-on-one education finance counseling and has a portfolio of highly competitive education lending products and services including an online scholarship search engine, low and no-cost federal student loans , parent loans, private loans, student loan consolidation programs and college savings plans.

The NextStudent Scholarship Search Engine , one of the nation’s oldest and largest scholarship search engines, is updated daily, available free of charge, completely private – and represents more than 800,000 scholarships worth $2.8 billion.

For more information about NextStudent and its new 2.75 percent fixed student loan consolidation rate, please visit the company’s Web site at www.nextstudent.com."

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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

My FICO Credit Score Rebounds As A New Credit Rating System -- VantageScore -- Debuts

I checked my FICO credit score a few days ago, and I'm happy to report that I am back in 700 territory--709 to be exact--so that's pretty good news. I recently used a Citibank 2.99% APR balance transfer offer (again!) to consolidate my credit card debt and save on interest charges. I was tempted to use a 0% APR balance transfer offer from Discover Card, as they are currently offering an interest-free period on transferred balances until June 2007, but opening a new credit account isn't a good idea for my situation right now, so the 2.99% offer from Citibank will have to do.

Are you ready for a new credit rating system? Well, ready or not, it's here. It's called VantageScore, and it's form the folks at TransUnion. Click here for more details about VantageScore.

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