College loan debt

Hello folks,
This applies at least to all the bell-ringers at the maritime academies, and probably to most college graduates. It’s expensive!

Anyhow, I’ve been out for a couple of years now and I’m starting to look at my college debt to see what I can do to consolidate, reduce interest, and cut down the payoff time. I have a small family, so going to see for a year and paying off college simply isn’t an option.

Anyhow, here’s what I’ve found. My lender is Great Lakes. I have three loan numbers with them, and under each loan number, there are sub-loans each with different interest rates. What I wanted to do was change all payments to minimum payments, then whatever is left over (that I’m willing to afford each month) throw at the account with the crappiest interest rate. Once that crap interest rate is gone (first!), take that chunk and knock out the next highest interest rate etc. That is called snow-ball payoff of debt. I think.

Of course, awesome Great Lakes doesn’t let you do that. I can only pay off individual loan-numbers. Inside those loan-numbers are bundled interest rates, so I can’t direct that money towards the worst interest rate. Or, they tell me the money goes towards the loan with the highest interest rate, but I have to take their word for it because I can’t see the trends over the months, only a snapshot of what I owe at any one moment. Useless.

This is a neat site:
You can put in your social security number, and your old FASFA PIN (you remember that one?!?) and it will grab all your loan balances and interest rates badda-bing. Pretty slick, but there isn’t much you can do with the info.

I made a spreadsheet with all my loans and interest rates on it and came up with a weighted interest rate of 5.67%, which is okay. But I still can’t direct any money.

There’s also this place:

It lets you put in your details for Great Lakes, but won’t connect to grab the account info. Meh

Anyone had much luck with lowering their total interest over the life of the loan? Or making monthly payments smaller, and able to throw more at the loans etc.?

Almost all of my student loans are through they allow me to direct how much goes to each loan. Out of the 8 loans I have, the interest rates vary from 2.85% up to right around 8%. I’ve set it up so that on a monthly basis I make a little over the min payment on all 8 of them, and then once I have saved up enough I pay one high interest one off in full. That seems odd that you cannot specify to what loans you want the extra payment money to go towards.

Good luck, and keep us posted if you end up consolidating.

Have you reviewed, the Fed site? Great Lakes is listed.
Note that if you consolidate, it may be at a higher rate than your lower rate loans.
Your “snowball” payoff plan is sound, but I believe you can send payments directed at one loan, as your goal should be to pay off the highest ones first. You may have to send a separate payment for just that one loan number, while making minimum payments on the others. Talk with someone else at GL to figure out how to do that - you may have to speak with someone in the “Payoff” department. I know they want to do everything automatically, but they DO accept money that you send with specific loan numbers.