Student loan consolidation with a spouse is only available with the Pentagon Federal Credit Union. Since PenFed is a private institution, you will be refinancing your student loans instead of consolidating them.
Student loan refinancing entails getting a new loan policy to pay off existing loans. With this option from PenFed, you and your spouse can combine all of your loans for a single monthly payment. Here’s a closer look at spousal student loan consolidation and your other options with refinancing.
Refinancing My Student Loans With My Spouse’s Student Loans
Refinancing your student loans with a private lender means you will apply for a new private loan to pay off your existing student loans. You can combine federal student loans and private student loans into one new private student loan through refinancing.
The federal government used to offer Joint Consolidation Loans for married couples. This program is no longer available, making PenFed your only option for the spousal consolidation of federal student loans.
Note that combining federal and private student loans will disqualify you from federal student loan forgiveness programs and repayment options. Consider the federal benefits you and your spouse have before proceeding with a spousal student loan consolidation.
This type of consolidation may be a good idea if you or your spouse is ineligible for refinancing alone. If you or your spouse earns significantly more than the other and have a higher credit score, the credit union will consider the most qualified individual for the new loan. This essentially helps the other member access a better rate.
However, you must consider that you cannot remove your spouse from your new loan terms after refinancing. This rule may complicate the situation for couples going through a divorce or separation. You will share the responsibility of repayment, even if the other member contributed more to the principal balance.
Refinancing My Student Loans With My Spouse as a Cosigner
You have more private lender options if you decide to refinance your student loans with your spouse as a cosigner. With this option, you will share your new loan’s responsibility with your spouse. Note that this new loan will only combine the applicant’s multiple loans.
Your spouse’s student loans will remain separate; however, they can refinance their student loans as well. In this case, you will still have more than one policy to keep track of, but they are still significantly less than the multiple loans you had before refinancing.
With other options besides PenFed, you have more opportunities to find a lender that offers the best rates that work for you and your spouse. Be sure to consider all your options before settling with one lender.
So, Can My Spouse and I Consolidate Student Loans?
Yes, you can consolidate your spouse’s student loans with yours through PenFed’s spousal student loan consolidation program. This program involves refinancing your student loans with your spouse’s into one new policy to make a convenient, single monthly payment.
Alternatively, you can refinance your student loans with another private lender and get your spouse as a cosigner. In this case, you have more private lenders to choose from and more options to shop for a better rate.
While combining your student loans with your spouse’s student loans may help streamline your monthly payments, you may have access to better rates at another private lender. Be sure to identify your goals and assess your options before proceeding with spousal student loan consolidation or refinancing.