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Consolidation may help with student loans

It's engrained in many people's minds: graduate from high school, go to college, earn a degree and get out in the working world. But what not everyone immediately talks about is just how much college really does cost, and just how much student loan debt a person is going to have to pay back after graduating.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the majority of college students - two out of three - end up having to use student loans to pay for their education, which means that once that same graduate finds their first job after college, a good portion of their income may have to go to paying off those loans.

Specifically, some of the most recent statistics point to the average college student owing $23,000 in loans after graduating.

And while this may seem a bit overwhelming at first, there are a number of steps that a former student - or their parent who is paying for the loan - can take to make it easier to repay the debt.

One debt relief option to look into is consolidation. In a situation where a student had to take out multiple loans, all of the loans can often times be consolidated through one lender, which means that just one lump sum payment needs to be made every month. Aside from possibly being able to find a consolidation loan with a low interest, consolidation can also help to ensure that all loans are paid every month on time to avoid late fees.

Another tip is to look into deferment and forbearance on the loans, and also whether or not a person would qualify for a loan forgiveness program, which essentially means that the entire owed amount would be wiped clean.

And while these are just points to consider when examining how to actually pay back the loan, with tax season in full swing, it's also important to remember that interest costs from loans can and should be deducted when filing, and that these deductions do not need to be itemized.

Source: The Breaking Story, "Steps To Pay Off Student Loans," Rebecca Earl, 9 March 2011

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