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When you’re ready, go to studentloans.gov, log in, and follow these steps to apply: You can consolidate all your federal loans or just some of them.
If you’re a parent with PLUS loans and you also have other federal student loans, you may want to consolidate your PLUS loans in a separate consolidation loan; consolidating them with your other federal loans will make that consolidation loan ineligible for all income-driven repayment plans except income-contingent repayment.
If you have problems with or questions about any part of the application, you can call Federal Student Aid’s Loan Consolidation Information Call Center at 1-800-557-7392.
There are major benefits and drawbacks of federal consolidation; it’s important to understand both because consolidation can’t be undone.
Your financial history — including your credit score, income, job history and educational background — will dictate your new interest rate when you refinance.
You typically need a credit score at least in the mid-600s to qualify, and rates range from around 2% to more than 9%.
Private consolidation is often referred to as refinancing.
If your loans are already with one of those servicers, you can stay or choose a new one.
If you have Perkins loans, think twice before consolidating them; you’ll lose access to Perkins loan cancellation if you do.
Federal loan servicers are private companies that manage federal loans for the Department of Education.
Here’s how: » SIGN UP: Get a free plan to ditch your debt Federal student loan consolidation basics How to consolidate federal student loans Student loan refinancing basics Compare student loan refinance lenders When you consolidate federal loans, the government pays them off and replaces them with a direct consolidation loan.
You’re generally eligible once you graduate, leave school or drop below half-time enrollment.
If you choose an income-driven plan, you’ll be asked to provide income information on the application by granting access to your IRS tax information.