Be sure to consider the following before you fill out the application: Unsecured loans are commonly referred to as personal or signature loans.
Examples of a secured loan include a home equity loan or a second mortgage since your home is used as collateral.
Make sure you know what rate will be in effect after the first couple of months.
If it's too high, this option may not be your best choice.
Consolidation was previously available to borrowers while they were still in school. Congress also eliminated joint consolidation for spouses, effective July 1, 2006.
(see box below), You can consolidate during grace periods.
You may consolidate with Direct Loans during grace periods, once you have entered repayment, or during periods of deferment or forbearance.
Loans that are not eligible for consolidation include state or private loans that are not federally guaranteed.
Or, you might apply for a new credit card with a lower interest rate.
Be careful about introductory rates, also called teaser rates.
With just a few exceptions, you get only one chance to consolidate with the government loan programs.
WARNING: It is very dangerous to consolidate federal loans into a private consolidation loan.