Loans, Math, and other Fun Stuff
I'm working on planning ahead (about 18 mos ahead) and looking at repayment of student loans. Currently, I have 17k at 3.2% fixed from undergrad (consolidated through direct loans). The interest rate drops.5% after 12 mos paid on time (only does this once) and another.5% if I pay through automatic withdraw. After 3 yrs, it drops another 1%. In other words, as of January 2012, it will be fixed at 1.2%. Coming out of grad school, I will have 14k at 7.9% fixed (Grad Plus loans) and about 42k at 7% fixed (government loans). I'm guessing I'd hit about a 6% fixed rate if I consolidate my grad school loans. So the question is, does it make more sense to consolidate everything together so I'm paying one payment each month or does it make more sense to make 2 payments a month, live on basically nothing, but not lose that low undergrad interest rate? I'm in the social work field, so I'll probably start off making something around $30k/yr-ish. I currently live where cost of living is below average a bit, but I'm not in a relationship that is likely to turn into a situation of having 2 incomes to depend on. (Though in the next 18 mos, who knows?!) Also, it's not really an option to take out less than about 28k/yr for grad school (I have one more year) since school requires a minimum of 10 hrs/week and 24 hrs/week field work (aka unpaid). Although I work about 10 hrs/week, there's just no time to find another job while getting all of the studying in and attending the extra lectures/symposiums/etc. that's required. Any ideas/suggestions/advice?