Should I Consolidate?

Hey all,

I received this message from the MA ombudsman, but I’ve been hesitant to consolidate because 1. I can’t afford to start repayment and as I understand it if I sign up for SAVE payments start immediately and 2. My payment is over $1k through SAVE. My dilemma is I do have some old loans and I have worked in non-profit for over 10 years, so could potentially benefit. Any suggestions? Am I incorrect that I can’t utilize the on ramp and not start paying until this fall if I consolidate with SAVE?

Email from the ombudsman:
This opportunity, called the payment count adjustment, forgives federal loans that have been in repayment for 20 or 25 years (or as few as 10 years if you work for the government or most types of nonprofits or if you borrowed $12,000 or less). But to benefit, you must apply to consolidate privately owned federal loans, including FFEL Program Loans, into the Direct Loan Program by the new April 30, 2024 deadline.
Even if your loans have not yet been in repayment long enough to be forgiven, you can still get credit toward loan forgiveness through this adjustment. You can then continue earning more credit toward forgiveness by enrolling in an Income-Driven Repayment plan, like the new, more affordable SAVE plan.

I would love to know how people are responding to this question. For myself, I’ve got loans dating from 1997 and before which were consolidated as FEEL (is that the right acronym?) loans (Pell Grants, Stafford loans, all government backed via Sallie Mae) and my loan has been in IBR since it launched. I was told that unless I reconsolidated, my loan would NOT be eligible for the “count adjustment”. I was quite leery of going through this process, but I eventually did given the April deadline and confirmation on the Dept of Education website that old loans are ineligible unless reconsolidated. Fingers crossed!

I’m in a very similar situation and have been hesitant. I’ve also been taking advantage of the on ramp and haven’t made any laments. Do you know if you consolidate, you can o longer utilize the on ramp?

Keitha, if you haven’t consolidated yet, you still have time – the deadline has been extended until June 30th. Don’t hesitate! I was skeptical about doing it, but with certain old loans the payment recount will not apply unless you reconsolidate. So I did.

Last week, my loans which date to the late nineties were entirely forgiven. The loan balance had gone beyond 10 times the original amount and now it’s $0. It was a nightmare and it’s over.

All the best!