Consolidating student loan programs

16-Mar-2016 08:10

The government combines your loans into one direct consolidation loan and assigns you a 10- to 30-year repayment term based on your total balance.

You can apply for a direct consolidation loan online at

It’s always free to consolidate your loans with the government on

This program dissolves your remaining balance after you make 120 monthly payments while working in a public service job.

Drawbacks: Because your new interest rate is rounded up, it could be higher than your rate before consolidation.

Interest rates: The interest rate of your consolidated federal student loans will be a weighted average of your previous rates, rounded up to the next 1/8 of 1%.

It won’t be determined by your financial history, as it would be if you refinanced.

You’ll also lose forgiveness benefits specific to Perkins loans if you consolidate them.

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Log in with your Federal Student Aid ID and click on “Complete a Consolidation Loan Application and Promissory Note.” Make sure you’ve decided on a student loan repayment plan and a student loan servicer; you can choose each on the application.

If you’d like extra guidance before applying, our step-by-step guide will walk you through the process.

Read on to learn how to apply for federal student loan consolidation or student loan refinancing and how to decide whether one is right for you.

[Skip to refinancing] Only federal student loans are eligible for this type of consolidation.

Benefits: Consolidating some types of loans, like those from the Federal Family Education Loan Program, makes them eligible for certain benefits.

These can include income-driven repayment, which ties your loan payments to your earnings and forgives your federal loan balance after 20 or 25 years, and Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

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