I’ve come to an important moment in my life – my student loans are coming out of their grace periods and into repayment. I only have three, two that the payments start on by December and one that isn’t due until April. They’re all federal loans, but, three payments going in different directions each month seemed stupid to me. I decided to look into loan consolidation. So, after a little research on the internet so that I would understand what kind of interest rates I should be offered, I went to my bank this morning.
Lady1 gave me all sorts of great information regarding consolidation loans – of the unsecured variety. The lowest interest rate was twice what my current fixed rate is. She did mention that if I did a home equity loan she could get me a lower rate. That was after I told her that I didn’t own a home.All of this was after telling her that this was for student loans.
Lady2 on hearing that I was working with student loans gave me a 1800 number to call. I called the number and got Guy1. He was by far the most helpful. Told me about the interest rates he could offer me, the terms of repayment, etc. And then told me that he thought it would be in my best interest to go through the Department of Education, since all of my loans are federal. So I called the next 1800 number, worked my way through the second stupid call system to get Guy2. He was, essentially, useless. The automated system could have told me what he did. All he kept repeating was that they could mail me an application or I could fill it out online.
Off to the website I went, only to learn that I would be forfeiting my remaining grace period and have to jump through all sorts of hoops. I need to:
- Gather all of my loan information.
- Fill out an application.
- Apply for a pin.
- Sign an electronic note.
- Send in my application.
- Dance with a monkey on my back.
- Wait 4-6 weeks.
And then, they’ll let me know. So, while all of that is going on, I’ll have to be making payments on my loans. I’ve decided not to consolidate. At least, not right now. I’ve remembered again why I loathe our government at times – they take what should be a simple process and complicate it. And of course, when the government is the entity least likely to screw you over…you’re, well, screwed.
This is the stuff that coming of age novels should be made of. Forget the whole finding out who you are because your dog/best friend/parent dies. It should be all about how to dance the bureaucratic dance. Who needs character when they have rules.