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NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Interest rates on some federal education loans are headed to all-time lows.
That's good news for your wallet if you're saddled with debt from college or graduate school.
Generally speaking, people consolidate their student loans for one of two reasons: To lower their monthly payments or to save money over time.
Each has its pros and cons, and only you can judge what's best for you.
In terms of providing immediate payment relief, however, "loan consolidation can be a really good debt management tool," said Martha Holler, a senior director at Sallie Mae.
But you may benefit even more if you consolidate your student loans at the new rates, which will be in effect for a 12-month period through June 30, 2003.The sooner you pay off your loan, the more you save.You're even free to pay more than the required monthly amount if you wish.That's because with consolidated federal loans, "there is no prepayment penalty," Holler said.One possible drawback to this option: your monthly payments may be the same or even higher than they were before consolidation.
If you want to significantly lower your monthly payments, you often can do so by extending your repayment period well past the 10-year term typical for federal student loans.