Consumer reports consolidating student loans

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People engaged in public service work can often get funds to help make their monthly student loan payments through little-known loan repayment assistance programs (LRAPs), provided by a growing number of colleges and universities.LRAPs were created for students attending law schools in the late 1980s to encourage graduates to do low-paying public service legal work.That could mean looking for positions in health care, education, social assistance, and the arts. Congress' definition of public service work excludes time spent on religious instruction, worship services, or any form of proselytizing; employment at a labor union; or work for a partisan political organization.A requirement of student loan debt forgiveness is that you make 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan.Your use of this site constitutes acceptance of the Terms of Use Advertisements on this site are placed and controlled by outside advertising networks. The contents of this site may not be republished, reprinted, rewritten or recirculated without written permission.Consumer does not evaluate or endorse the products and services advertised. The information on this Web site is general in nature and is not intended as a substitute for competent legal advice. Since 2010, all federal education loans are now direct loans.Older Federal Family Education Loans and Perkins loans qualify too, but only if they're first converted into a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan. While in high school or college, set your sights on jobs where you can be employed full-time by a federal, state, or local government agency, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit or a not-for-profit provider of public services.

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These LRAPs typically pay 100 percent of the monthly loan payment if the graduate's employment income is below ,000 a year.

Millennials who start off their careers with ,000 in student loan debt, for example, may end up with 5,000 less in retirement savings than if they had no debt, according to a recent study by LIMRA, an association of more than 850 financial services companies.

What should you look for in a good assistance program?

Another option: Many employers offer LRAPs to attract and retain new employees.

Those provided by government and non-profit employers help reduce the out-of-pocket cost of your payments and subsidize your 10-year journey toward forgiveness of any remaining balance. military, for instance, is authorized to offer active-duty, enlisted service members a total of up to ,000 in federal student loan payments.

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