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<<So I did some looking at my Sallie Mae loans and I owe about 16,000 still on the loans. The loans are listed as subsidized which I think means that they are federally insured? If so, does that mean that I can take advantage of everything in the Great Deals article if I move my loans to a federal type of loan instead of Sally Mae? If not where should I start to look for somewhere where I can take advantage of these consolidation deals?>>

Subsidized means that the loans don't get charged interest when you are (were) in school AND any time you qualify for a "deferment" that's listed in your loan papers (unemployment, hardship, back-in-school-at-least-half-time, those are a few).

For some of us, not having to pay the interest in a deferment is actually quite valuable (esp. folks with the high-five-figure subsidized balances).

Your loans are always federally guaranteed, no matter which lender or servicing agency is holding the note.

Your loans always stay subsidized as long as you don't default.

You can go with Sallie Mae, Direct Loans (US Education Department), THE, Collegiate, or anyone out there making the offer to do a federal consolidation loan. The only difference will be in the deal you get on the interest rate, since each of these has some "incentive program" currently in effect.

Visit www.loanconsolidation.ed.gov (I hope that's it). They have a lot of information there.
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