Sallie Mae Stops Student Loan Consolidation, Will No Longer Pay Origination Fees On Stafford Loans

Consolidation loans are no longer profitable for Sallie Mae, so it’s saying goodbye to them. SmartMoney points out that ultimately this shouldn’t matter for students taking out new loans, since the original point of consolidation—converting lots of variable rate loans into a nice predictable fixed rate loan—is no longer relevant (all federal student loans are now disbursed with fixed interest rates.) SmartMoney says if you still have variable rate loans you need/want to consolidate, check out the government’s consolidation offering—”You’re likely to pay the same consolidation rates you’d pay if you did so with Sallie Mae,” they write.

As for the 1.5% loan origination fee, students will no longer enjoy having that waived by Sallie Mae. The magazine says you should now start shopping around for lenders who are still willing to pay them (they suggest J.P. Morgan Chase).

“Sallie Mae Halts Student-Loan Consolidation” [SmartMoney]
(Photo: Getty)

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  1. cotr says:

    what about citi? i like them.

    kinda.

  2. KarmaChameleon says:

    LOL. I work in financial aid. My school works with Sallie Mae and we didn’t even know about this. Just linked my boss to this article and got kudos for it.

    Fucking around on the internet at work pays off. Thanks, Consumerist!

  3. zentex says:

    @KarmaChameleon: until your boss reads the article again and notices your post…then you get busted for “fucking around on the internet at work”…the pay off? unemployment!

    ;-)

  4. KarmaChameleon says:

    @zentex: Hee! I linked to the actual article and not the Consumerist post.

    Figured I probably shouldn’t finger where I spend most of my time at work (next to Jezebel). *g*

  5. QuantumRiff says:

    Yeah, the rates are fixed on loans now. I had some at 4.5%, and some at 8%. It wouldn’t be an issue if they were all the same rate, but how many students complete school in one year? By consolidating, I got one loan, with one rate to pay, instead of the 6 loans at different rates. (and you can take more than 7 years to pay)

    BTW, if all your loans are from the same company, they don’t have to “release” them for consolidation with a 3rd party. That really burned me.. Please, please, one year choose to get your financial aid from another company. You’ll save a bundle. I was stuck with what wachovia offered me for consolidation, and it was not nearly as competitive as other companies..

  6. Concerned_Citizen says:

    @QuantumRiff: How can they choose not to release the loan? Doesn’t consolidation involve the new company paying the old company in full and taking over the debt? Surely, no company can refuse full payment.

  7. Darkwish says:

    Gee, and I just got a Sallie Mae consolidation offer in the mail today!

  8. azntg says:

    Oooh… student loans *shudder*!

    I for one am glad that I can get a free ride at my college thanks to a scholarship. But I do feel for my friends who have to sign on with those loans.

    Always sucks to get onto major debt so early in life and to add insult to injury, not being able to discharge it in bankruptcy if it ever has to come to that point!

  9. Thaddeus says:

    Not only is Salle Mae dropping out of this but many other lenders are just up an quitting Stafford loan lending all together.

    Attention! COLLEGE STUDENTS! – You may need to fill out a new Stafford App before the start of next school year if you lender stopped participating in the Stafford Loan program. Check with your Financial aid office to be sure.

  10. mac-phisto says:

    @Concerned_Citizen: there is something called the “single lender rule” – Section 428C(b)(1)(A) of the higher education act. essentially it’s like a right of refusal to consolidate for lenders. the catch is that all your loans have to be held by one lender. they can refuse to release your loans for consolidation if they wish.

    there’s a loophole though provided by the federal direct loan program -> [www.ed.gov] basically, you can snatch your loans away from your lender if they don’t provide a consolidation program or refuse to release the loans to a third party lender for consolidation.

  11. pigeonpenelope says:

    just the mere mention of Sallie Mae has my blood boiling. I hate Sallie Mae. I’ve never had worse customer service in my life. Am working on a BBB complaint before I write my own consumerist complaint.

  12. mac-phisto says:

    @mac-phisto: YMMV on the fdl program – don’t know if that loophole still works. did work for a few folks i knew a couple years ago though

  13. @cotr: I’m with Citi, my husband’s with SallieMae. Sallie Mae definitely sucks generalized chocolate salty monkey balls. Citi doesn’t give me warm fuzzies, but they don’t make errors, the statements are clear and arrive with a good-sized payment window, and the handful of times I’ve had to call them it’s been relatively painless. Reasonable hold times, polite reps, who typically can eventually solve your problem. Not stellar, but Citi gets the job done.

    Sallie Mae — this makes me CRAZY — constantly sends us letters saying that “your payment has been adjusted” but they only identify the loan by long number, not by amount, and they don’t list all your loans together. AND THEY DON’T TELL YOU WHAT IT’S BEEN ADJUSTED FROM! So back when we had about six loans (we’re down to two), it was almost impossible to tell if your payment was going up or down from the adjustment, since you couldn’t tell what the payment USED to be, and the payment came out of the bank in a lump sum, not six separate transactions.

  14. KarmaChameleon says:

    @mac-phisto: The Single Lender Rule was repealed by Congress last year. At the time, I was working for a shady consolidation outfit that’s since gone out of business (if you’ve got Stafford Loans, I probably spammed your phone–sorry, I had to eat!). A huge deal was made of the fact that tons of people who couldn’t previously consolidate suddenly could, which is why consolidation places got crazy in the run up to 7/1/07.

  15. KarmaChameleon says:

    @KarmaChameleon: Er, make that ’06. I have no sense of time.

  16. DaveInTheCorn says:

    Yeah, I was able to lock in a very nice interest rate on the loans from ’05-’06, like 2 points lower than my loans from fall ’06!

  17. fuzzball21 says:

    Consumerist, how about some numbers for Sallie Mae executives??? I know they all can’t be tied up all day swearing during conference calls…

  18. muffingal says:

    Sallie Mae isn’t the only loan company that is no longer offering loan consolidation. I was checking NelNet for information since I am graduating this summer and they don’t offer loan consoldation anymore. The bad thing is that they don’t even refer users to the Fed’s Direct Consolidation program like Sallie Mae does.

  19. savvy9999 says:

    While this may sound particularly sucky at the moment, this policy won’t last forever. At some point in the next 3-5 years the interest rates will rise again to the point where it will be profitable for Sallie Mae to reverse course, so people stuck with a couple of loans at 8% today will be able to consolidate at lower rates.

    Sure, you’ll be paying a little bit higher for a couple of years, but again, don’t panic. You’re in it for the long haul.

  20. t0fu says:

    If you have federal student loans, the best bet in my opinion is actually consolidate them through the federal government.
    [loanconsolidation.ed.gov]

  21. bncbo says:

    Hi-
    So I will be going to grad school in the Fall, and am soo nervous about taking on a ton of debt. Has anyone had any other experience with student loan lenders? So far, I’m leaning towards Citi or JP Morgan Chase.

    Thanks!

  22. KarmaChameleon says:

    @t0fu: Seconded. Consolidation through the government is free, the minimum loan amount is much smaller, and you don’t have to deal with the sleaze factor.

    I could raise the hair on the backs of your necks with stories of the consolidation outfit I used to work at, and it was only one of well over a hundred just in my state. To give you an idea, the DoE was investigating them when I quit. They’ve since gone under. Most if not all those companies are in a tailspin and are dropping like flies, too.

  23. -J- says:

    @KarmaChameleon:

    The problem is, not everyone has federal loans. ed.gov only consolidates federal loans. It is wrong, but that is all they do.

    People with private loans (which is a large part of the whole student loan crisis) are stuck now more than ever with this new trend of no longer consolidating loans.

  24. -J- says:

    @mac-phisto:

    This only applies to federal loans. Not private loans which generally is 50% or more of the average tuition now.