Federal Student Loan Consolidation FAQs
- How do I combine multiple federal loans into one loan?
- Can I consolidate my loans with my spouse's loans?
- Can I consolidate my loans with my parent's loans?
- How long does it take to consolidate federal student loans?
- What are the benefits of federal student loan consolidation?
- Who is eligible for federal student loan consolidation?
- What is the interest rate?
- What types of federal student loans can be consolidated?
- Can I consolidate my private student loans, too?
- Can non-student loan debt be consolidated?
- If I consolidated in the past, can I do it again?
- Is there a credit check required to consolidate?
- Are there any prepayment fees or penalties?
- Should I continue making loan payments while my consolidation application is in process?
- Can I suspend payments on a consolidation loan?
- How long is the repayment period?
- What can I do if I am not eligible for a Direct Consolidation Loan?
Federal student loan consolidation enables a borrower to combine all of their federal student loans into a single new loan with one monthly payment. Students may not consolidate their federal student loans with their parent's Parent PLUS Loans. Only federal student loans owed by a single borrower may be combined in a Direct Consolidation Loan.
No. Students may not consolidate their federal student loans with their spouse's federal student loans.
No. Students may not consolidate their federal student loans with their parent’s Parent PLUS Loans. Only federal student loans owed by a single borrower may be combined in a Direct Consolidation Loan. However, a parent may consolidate their Parent PLUS loans with their own federal student loans. Parents who do this may lose eligibility for repayment plans that base the monthly loan payment on the borrower’s income.
Consolidation typically takes 30 to 60 days, but can take up to 90 days.
- Cut your monthly student loan payment
- Streamline your finances with one payment each month
- Access flexible repayment options offered by the U.S. Department of Education
Student loan consolidation can extend the repayment term, which usually reduces the monthly payment. This enables borrowers to use those funds to meet living expenses and pay off higher interest debts.
Consolidation borrowers must not be in default on their federal loans. Borrowers may not obtain a federal consolidation loan while they are enrolled in school on at least a half-time basis.
To consolidate federal loans, borrowers are not required to:
- Be employed
- Have any form of collateral
- Have a cosigner
The interest rate on a Direct Consolidation Loan is the weighted average of the interest rates on your existing federal student loans, rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of 1%, fixed for the life of the loan.
Our Consolidation Loan Calculator can help you estimate your new rate and monthly payment.
- Direct Subsudized and Unsubsidized Loans (sometimes called Stafford Loans)
- Parent PLUS Loans
- Grad PLUS Loans
- Perkins Loans
- HEAL Loans
- Nursing Student Loans
- Some existing Consolidation Loans
- Some loans from older federal loan programs
A Direct Consolidation Loan cannot include private student loans. However, some private loan lenders do offer consolidation programs that enable borrowers to consolidate private loans separately.
Several of those lenders will allow borrowers to consolidate federal student loans into a private consolidation loan. Borrowers who consolidate federal student loans will lose the benefits available on federal student loans.
Learn more about private student loan consolidation.
Non-federal student loans debts, including credit cards, car loans, mortgages, and private student loans cannot be refinanced into a Direct Consolidation Loan. Some lenders may offer refinancing programs for credit-worthy borrowers with these types of debts.
In some cases, you can include an existing consolidation loan in a new Direct Consolidation Loan, particularly if you've taken out one or more additional federal student loans. Check with StudentLoans.gov to learn more.
No. Eligibility for federal student loan consolidation does not depend on the borrower's credit history or credit scores.
There are no prepayment penalties on federal or private student loans. Making extra payments is a great way to pay off your loans faster and save money on interest. Accelerating repayment of the loan with the highest interest rate will save the borrower the most money.
Yes. Until you are notified that your loans have been paid off, you should continue to make your monthly payments.
Direct Consolidation Loan borrowers are eligible for up to three years of deferment and up to three years of forbearance benefits. In certain circumstances, such as a return to school, unemployment, or financial hardship, student loan payments can be temporarily suspended. Check with your loan servicer to obtain the necessary forms.
The repayment period is determined by the total amount of your Direct Consolidation Loan. The following table shows the maximum repayment term under the standard repayment plan:
|Loan Balance||Maximum Repayment Period|
|Less than $7,500||10 years|
|$7,500 to $9,999||12 years|
|$10,000 to $19,999||15 years|
|$20,000 to $39,999||20 years|
|$40,000 to $59,999||25 years|
|$60,000 and above||30 years|
Borrowers may choose a shorter repayment term.
If you have private student loans, you can consider private loan consolidation. If you have other types of debt to refinance, you can look for a personal line of credit or loan from a bank, credit union, or other financial institution.
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