American college graduates, and others who have taken out student loans, are drowning under record debt.
According to the Federal Reserve, U.S. consumers - 44 million borrowers in all - owe $1.4 trillion in student loan debt in 2017. That's a staggering total, especially given that figure stands at $620 billion more than all Americans owe in credit card debt.
Data also show the average monthly student loan payment is $351 and that 11.2% of college borrowers are already delinquent on that debt in 2017.
Is there a way out of what many college borrowers understandably view as a debt nightmare? Maybe - if the path to financial solvency goes through student debt consolidation.
Student loan consolidation enables borrowers to "bundle" all their college loans into one single loan, with one single monthly loan payment (that includes student loans your parents have taken out.)
There are caveats. You may or may not get a lower interest rate, depending on your lending institution, and you can't bundle non-student loan debt into newly consolidated loans, if you've been borrowing via federal government student loans.
In general, there are three primary benefits to taking out a consolidated student loan, says Stephen Dash, CEO r at Credible.
--- "First, you may be able to qualify for a better interest rate, which can save thousands in repayment costs," says Dash. (At Credible, Dash has seen new student loan consolidation borrowers save $19,000 in total loan costs, which is why it's so important to keep hunting for the best loan deal.)