Q. What is loan consolidation?
A. A consolidation loan is a new loan that allows you to combine your federal student loans into one loan with one servicer to contact if you have payment questions.
Q. Which loans are eligible to be consolidated?
A. Only your federal student loans can be consolidated. The most common loan types are Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford or Direct Loan, Grad PLUS Loan, Perkins Loan, Federal Nursing Loan and Health Profession Student Loan.
Q. What about my private or alternative student loan?
A. Private loans are not eligible for the federal consolidation loan program.
Q. When can I complete a consolidation loan application?
A. At any time during the grace period or while you are in repayment.
Q. What are the advantages of consolidation?
A. For borrowers who have multiple loan servicers, it may be easier to manage when loan information is at one location. Longer repayment periods than the standard repayment period are available. Only direct loans are eligible for Public Student Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). If you have older FFEL/Stafford or Grad PLUS loans, you may want to complete a Federal Direct Consolidation application to make those old loans eligible for forgiveness provisions.
Q. What are the disadvantages?
A. The loan servicer will calculate the interest rate based on the weighted average of your loans plus 1/8% for a new fixed rate.
Q. Do I have to include all of my federal loans in the new consolidation loan?
A. No, you can choose which loans to be consolidated.
Q. Where can I find out who services my current loans before I consolidate?
A. The National Student Loan Data System, www.nslds.ed.gov, will provide a loan history for your federal loans with the exception of Federal Nursing Loans.
Q. Where do I apply?
A. There is only one place to apply: http://www.studentloans.gov/
- Direct Loan Program guide
- Loan Limits
- Interest rates
- Loan Repayment Calculators
- Repayment Options for Direct Loans
- National Student Loan Data System Go here to find out what lender or servicer is holding your current and past Stafford, PLUS and Grad PLUS loans.
- Your Loan History - where to find it
- Federal Department of Education Direct Loan information site