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Student Loans: Read the Fine Print


Location: Washington, DC

The administration announced some changes in student loans yesterday with the goal of making them easier to repay. While the attempt is appreciated, those who think this will help them should read the fine print.

The administration says you can cap student loans to pay what you can afford. However, it appears this provision only applies to loans issued in 2012 or later.

The administration also touts the ability to consolidate loans. However, if you've already consolidated your student loans you are not eligible for this provision. Also, there is a short window to take advantage of this provision that lowers your interest rate by up to half a percentage point -- from January 2012 through June 2012. Further, this option is available to you only if you have Federal Family Education Loans and Direct Loans, and consolidate them into a Direct Loan. If you only have one of these types of federally backed student loans, you are not eligible.

Finally, for those who have private student loans rather than types backed by the government, this new initiative will not help you. One publication says these changes might only save $10 a month. As they say, the devil is in the details.

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