Distance Learning College Loan Consolidation

Forget About Federal Programs

Distance learning, or online education, is one of the fastest-growing segments of higher education, thanks to improved technology and social media. Adult learners, professionals and college students with families are getting online for their learning so they can juggle jobs and family duties without meeting set class schedules. Adults are seeking timely, innovative, experiential and practical coursework to finish, upgrade or change their degrees — and they are looking for applicable student loans to relieve the financial burden.

Distance programs may be more cost-effective than traditional, campus-based programs, but they pose a financial problem for student loan borrowers with other financial responsibilities. The challenge is to find consolidation loans that make it feasible for distance learners to combine their educational loans into one, easily managed, monthly payment.

Federal consolidation loans offer nothing for the distance learner. Federal loans still require students to attend a traditional college program either half or full-time.consolidation loans for distance learning

“Non-Traditional” For How Long?

In response to the gap in financial aid for distance learners and other nontraditional students, private student loans providers are slowly but surely anteing up a few customized private loans for this population of borrowers. For example, Sallie Mae offers a Career Training Smart Option Student Loan.

Consolidate Distance Learning Loans

Educational loans specifically designed for career training, certificate programs and continuing education students all fall under private loans. If you are shopping for a consolidation loan to cover loans like these, as well as any other private student loans you may have, you’ll find a wide assortment offered. Private lenders have become savvy with consolidation loans, realizing the huge potential in the market. Private student consolidation loans all share similar features, so be sure to shop around:

  • Credit-based, so if you don’t have good credit, make sure you can find a cosigner.
  • Variable interest rates.
  • Loan fees.
  • Minimum amount required.
  • Up to 30 years to repay depending on amount financed.
  • Many welcome outside borrowers.

Consolidate Previous Federal Loans

If you are a professional or student pursuing an online program and are still paying on outstanding federal student loans from a previous degree, then consider a federal student consolidation loan. Direct Federal Consolidation Loan requires you have at least one Direct Federal Loan that is in grace, repayment, deferment or default status. Loans that are in an in-school status cannot be included in a Direct Consolidation Loan. The federal consolidation loans feature fixed, low interest rates calculated on the weighted average of the loans when you apply. Borrowers can choose from multiple repayment plans with various term selections to repay their consolidation loan(s), including ones based on income. These plans are designed to be flexible to meet the changing needs of borrowers. With a consolidation loan, borrowers can switch repayment plans at anytime. No credit check is required, and there is no fee.

Alternatives to Consolidation

Lenders have rallied to provide borrowers with alternative means for managing unwieldy student loan debt. Worth mentioning are extended repayment plans which borrowers may obtain. Ask your lender for details on customizing your loan repayment.