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I suggest finding a middle ground. Pay off the debt as agressively as you can and start to invest and save a little as well.

Since you and your wife will likely be entering the high tech field and making nice incomes you will probably want to buy a home ASAP. My wife and I were in a similar position a few years ago, but were not prepared to buy a home. Owning property however became a major priority for us after our incomes and tax bills started to rise. We needed the tax shelter and you will too. Having a mortgage deduction is the only way I know of to take the sting out of the marriage penalty.

In terms of consolidating, definetly do it. The Direct Loan consolidation program is a good one. Also, check out consolidating through Sallie Mae. If I am not mistaken they will take a 1/4 point of of your interest rate for having your payment directly withdrawn from your bank account and another 1/4 point for making timely payment for the first 2 or 4 year. Check out their web site for details.

Good Luck!

EBinDC
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