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If the full amount borrowed is still not paid off after 25 years of these payments, the remaining balance is forgiven.Students who have already started repaying loans can opt for the income-based repayment plan, but there is an important caveat: Doing so will restart the clock and give your loan a new term of 25 additional years.If you have several different student loans, you may have lost track of whether they’re federal or private loans.
If you can afford to make the payments on your loans, Kantrowitz says, consolidation isn't going to help you.If, on the other hand, you are having trouble making your monthly payments or think that you will in the future, consolidation can present several alternatives.Remember, though, that while practically all repayment plans lower the monthly payments, they also add on several thousand dollars in interest costs by stretching out the life of the loan.That, in turn, can persuade a lender to reduce the interested charged as a result of a loan consolidation." Borrowers can get a lower rate now, and their rate may not jump as high in the future," Kantrowitz says.
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In some cases, too much student debt can even make it impossible to qualify for a home mortgage.