New student loan consolidation helps...about three people

MC HammerGood news! After July 1, if you have any unconsolidated federal student loans with a variable interest rate, you can consolidate at the low, low rate of 3.6%. Phenomenal!

Unfortunately there are, as this MSN article points out, a few catches to qualify for this rate, making the whole deal nothing more than a talking point for some of our elected officials.

Seriously. Very few people will be able to take advantage of this offer. And those who can have not made the smartest financial decisions regarding their loans over the years.

The rundown:
  1. If your student loans were issued after July 1 2006 ... BAM! No low rate for you!
  2. If you are still in school ... whoops! Sorry...should have dropped out. Can't touch this rate!
  3. You consolidated right after graduating to snag a lower rate? Too bad so sad.
That's right, if you made the sound financial decision to lock in a "low" interest rate on your federal student loans shortly after you graduated, you are out of luck. Yep, that's MC Hammer dancing over there with that 3.6% interest rate singing, "da na na na can't touch this."I bet by now you're wondering who this new low rate seems to help out. From what I can tell it helps two groups: Those 2008 graduates who can consolidate their first two years of loans, and anyone who graduated in 2007 or earlier, who didn't already consolidate their federal student loans. Those who did can only lock in a 4.25% rate. Fools.

It seems that if you take steps to make sure you are fiscally responsible then all you get is a slap on the back. But if you slack off a bit or are one of the three people who somehow have all of their student debt in the form of variable rate federal loans which by way of sorcery have not yet entered repayment, then congratulations we'll hand you the keys to a wonderful low interest rate!

If you don't qualify MSN has a few suggestions for how you can lower your interest rate, though I can't get behind their suggestion of using a 401k loan to pay off your student loans, and if you have a rich relative and haven't already asked for a low rate loan then well, how'd you make it through four years of school?

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