I'm currently in a weird situation - I have a large amount of accrued debt (85k principal, ~15k accrued interest so far), spread amongst multiple smaller student loans. Some are federal stafford loans, which were taken out at Max, and some are large private student loans.

Currently, I'm paying them at minimum through each loan, and paying some money directly to the principal whenever I can. The problem is that with so many loans (8 different loans through four different lenders), it's very easy to forget and miss a payment, and I may have been late once or twice. (wince.)

Ideally, I would pay a larger lump sum every month with a fixed rate consolidation loan - but I've done some investigation and the largest sum I could find through a reputable agency was for 25k. The other issue is that I currently don't have any collateral, and my cosigner is less than willing to sign again.

What options are there for consolidating a large amount of student loan debt?

Edit: I have considered federal consolidation for the Stafford loans, but that's only a drop in the bucket compared to the private loans.

  • Standing orders to speak in simple terms. I assume that the rate of interest and repayment rate are lower than a consolidation rates?.
    – Andrew Day
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 22:09

3 Answers 3


To add to @bstpierre's answer, you should automate all your loans except for the one with the highest interest rate. Leave that one manual, and pay the most you can afford each month, to pay it off as quickly as possible. Once you finish that loan, move to the next highest interest rate.

Ultimately, this won't be quite as convenient as just having 1 loan. The differences are:

  1. You need to set up all the automatic payments. This is probably comparable to in complexity of consolidating your loans.

  2. Each time you finish one loan, you need to turn off an automatic payment, and start doing the next loan manually. If you organize yourself well initially, you'll know exactly what order to do the loans in, so this shouldn't take too long.

However, unless your consolidated loan has the same interest rate of your cheapest current loan, you will likely save money over-all by using this method.

  • This is ultimately the most useful answer, though not the one I was looking for. Thanks. Since I was already burned once by the strategy, I'm setting all my loans to auto-pay and just paying extra towards the principal whenever I remember (every month or so). Commented Apr 9, 2011 at 3:33
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    @AndreiKrotkov - You have nothing to secure a loan with and you already have 100k in loans that you have shown to be less than perfect with. The is the answer for you. Yes it requires you to be frugal and on top of your finances. But it is your best option.
    – user4127
    Commented Mar 5, 2012 at 15:52
  • I know from experience that Navient in particular goes out of their way to make it difficult to make extra payments toward a particular loan. Just fair warning, be extremely careful in following their procedures and keep copies of your checks and instructions.
    – Jason Bray
    Commented Apr 25, 2018 at 19:29

The U.S. Department of Ed offers Loan consolidation that you may want to take a look at:


Going through a Government Agency as opposed to a private lender might reduce the burden (co-signers, collateral) you need to pass to get the loan.

  • Unfortunately, that applies for federal loans only. Even if I consolidate my federal loans, I would still have five private loans to pay off separately. Commented Feb 7, 2011 at 17:18

I can't help you with consolidation, but I'd suggest automating as much of the payments as possible.

  • Do your lenders support automatic debit of your checking for the payments?
  • Can you use online bill pay to make the payments?

If not, you might take a look at any of the numerous online banks that have online bill pay, and open an account with them. (E.g. ING Direct, Ally, etc.) You can set up the online account to pull from your current checking/savings account, and then make payments from that online account to your loans.

When you have that set up, if there is some extra payment you want to make, you can set up an automatic additional periodic payment to get rid of one lender at a time until everything is paid off.

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