Federal Loan Consolidation
Table of Contents
A Consolidation Loan allows you to combine all of your federal student loans (i.e. Federal Direct and Perkins Loans) you received into a single loan (and a single payment). You cannot combine the federal loans with private loans you may have taken out. Consolidation also may extend the length of repayment beyond the federal maximum of 10 years which lowers your monthly payment but increases your overall cost of the loan. Parents can also consolidate their Parent PLUS Loans if they have borrowed several loans over time.
Visit the Department of Education Direct Loan Consolidation Information Center website for more information and to complete an application. Choose Borrower Services to review information regarding the pros and cons of consolidation, what loans qualify for consolidation, tips for completing the application, application processing updates, and a link to the Online Calculator and other resources available to help you decide if loan consolidation is the right option for you.
You will need your federal username and password along with all Federal loan information (amounts and servicer contact information) to complete the online application. This information can be obtained using the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).
If you have loan consolidation questions, contact the Financial Aid office to meet with an adviser.
Private or Alternative Education Loan Consolidation
Although you cannot consolidate your private loans with your federal loans, if you have multiple private loans and/or lenders you may want to consider private loan consolidation. Not every lender will offer this type of loan. You must contact your lender directly for information, requirements, and to apply. Each lender determines its own loan and repayment terms and conditions, interest rates and qualification requirements.
Below are some helpful questions to ask when considering consolidating your alternative loans:
- What is my interest rate?
- Is the rate variable or fixed?
- If variable rate, how often can the rate change?
- Are there any fees on the loan?
- What are my repayment options and estimates for monthly payments?
- Is there a prepayment penalty?
- Are there deferment or forbearance options available to me?
- Are there any rate discounts available and what conditions have to be met to qualify?
- Where do I send my payments? Who do I contact with questions? (if having a local presence is important to you)
- What if I decide to go back to school? Are there deferment options?