Can I Consolidate My Sons Student Loans With My Federal Student Loans?


Dear Steve,

I am a single parent and accumulated some debt (credit cards, student loans) when I was unemployed. I have since paid down most of my credit card debt and remain with $4000 after owing $25k. I have been consistently employed at a non-profit for the last 11 years.

My son (age 25) is now looking to transfer to a state college, where it will take him 2 years to complete his degree. I am considering helping him out by taking out a loan. If so, can I consolidate his and my loans then apply for the PSLF program? I don’t know what kind of grants he might receive, so a loan may not even be necessary. At this point I am simply trying to investigate all options. Any other suggestions would be appreciated.



Dear Jennifer,

You cannot consolidate federal loans for both you and your son, together. Also, in order to qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program you must first consolidate your loans, pick a repayment option, and then and only then do your payments moving forward count towards future forgiveness. Once you make 120 on-time payments under that program and your employment continues to qualify, then the remaining loan balance can be forgiven. Please see this page for more details.

When it comes to financial options for your son, I would suggest you make an appointment and go and meet with the financial aid office at the school so you can have a face-to-face discussion with someone about what the range of options and possibilities is. Grants and scholarships may indeed be available but you will first need to be aware of them and then apply.

I can think of a number of instances where I know students who attended the same school but one received much more financial aid and incurred less debt. They key was the role of the parent to invest the time and energy to do the research and investigation to uncover options.

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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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