Am I eligible to refinance my student loans?

Federal Student Loan Consolidation FAQs

Federal student loan FAQs

  1. How do I combine multiple federal loans into one loan?
  2. Can I consolidate my loans with my spouse's loans?
  3. Can I consolidate my loans with my parent's loans?
  4. How long does it take to consolidate federal student loans?
  5. What are the benefits of federal student loan consolidation?
  6. Who is eligible for federal student loan consolidation?
  7. What is the interest rate?
  8. What types of federal student loans can be consolidated?
  9. Can I consolidate my private student loans, too?
  10. Can non-student loan debt be consolidated?
  11. If I consolidated in the past, can I do it again?
  12. Is there a credit check required to consolidate?
  13. Are there any prepayment fees or penalties?
  14. Should I continue making loan payments while my consolidation application is in process?
  15. Can I suspend payments on a consolidation loan?
  16. How long is the repayment period?
  17. What can I do if I am not eligible for a Direct Consolidation Loan?

How do I combine multiple federal loans into one 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.

Can I consolidate my loans with my spouse's loans?

No. Students may not consolidate their federal student loans with their spouse's federal student loans.

Can I consolidate my loans with my parent's 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.

How long does it take to consolidate federal student loans?

Consolidation typically takes 30 to 60 days, but can take up to 90 days. 

What are the benefits of federal student loan consolidation?

  • 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.

Who is eligible for federal student loan consolidation?

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

What is the interest rate?

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.

What types of federal student loans can be consolidated?

  • 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

Can I consolidate my private student loans, too?

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.

Can non-student loan debt be consolidated?

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.

I consolidated in the past, can I do it again?

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.

Is there a credit check required to consolidate?

No. Eligibility for federal student loan consolidation does not depend on the borrower's credit history or credit scores.

Are there any early prepayment fees or penalties?

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.

Should I continue making loan payments while my consolidation application is in process?

Yes. Until you are notified that your loans have been paid off, you should continue to make your monthly payments.

Can I suspend payments on a consolidation loan?

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.

How long is the repayment period?

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.

What can I do if I am not eligible for a Direct Consolidation Loan?

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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Am I eligible to refinance my student loans?