How Student Loan Consolidation and Refinancing Works
This step-by-step guide will help you understand how to consolidate or refinance your federal and private student loans.
Step 1: Locate Your Student Loans
When consolidating or refinancing student loans, you'll need to provide information on your current loans with your application.
The easiest way to locate your federal student loans is to visit NSLDS.ed.gov, the U.S. Department of Education's central database for federal student aid. Or, you can call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).
To locate your private student loans, request a free copy of your credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com. Your private loan balances and lender information should be listed on your credit report.
Step 2: Apply for Consolidation or Refinancing
For federal loans, you can apply directly with the U.S. Department of Education at StudentLoans.gov.
For private loans, you can apply online with the lender of your choice.
Step 3: Review and Sign
Once you have read the promissory note and understand the terms, you will sign and return the application either by online eSignature or by sending the paper application back to the lender or U.S. Department of Education.
Step 4: Application Processing
After your application is submitted, the loan retrieval process begins. The consolidating lender will contact your current lenders for the exact amount you owe. This process can take up to 60 days depending on the response time from your lender(s).
Once the payoff is sent to your current lenders, your loans have officially been consolidated. You will receive a new billing statement from your consolidation lender with payment due date information.
Your previous lenders can take a few weeks to officially close out your accounts, so don’t worry if you receive a statement from both your new and old lenders. This isn’t unusual.