Physician's Money Digest, May 15 2003, Volume 10, Issue 9

A student graduating from collegein June 2003 will carry an averagedebt load upwards of $19,000.The debt probably comes from varioussources, including Staffordloans, Perkins loans, and Parentloans for undergraduate students(PLUS). One neat money-savingtrick is to consolidate all studentloans with 1 agency, like Sallie Mae(800-448-3533; Nellie Mae (800-367-8848; Interest rates onconsolidated loans can be locked attoday's all-time low levels for the lifeof the loan, and monthly paymentscan be slashed by as much as 50%.Interest rate revisions on Staffordand PLUS loans will be announcedsoon for a July 1 effective date. Ifthe new rate is higher, go for consolidationbefore the effective date.If the new rate is lower, wait untilafter July 1 to consolidate.