Loan Consolidation is a process whereby a borrower can combine his/her existing Federal student loans issued at different times and at different interest rates into one new loan, thereby extending the repayment term up to 30 years and allowing the borrower to make a single monthly payment. Borrowers can consolidate their Federal loans with the Department of Education under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Consolidation Loan Program. To obtain a Direct Consolidation Loan, go to www.studentloans.gov. Click on Direct Consolidation Loan application.
- The interest rate of the new Federal Direct Consolidation Loan will be the weighted average of the interest rates of the loans to be consolidated rounded to the nearest 1/8th of a percent, not to exceed 8.25%.
- Your private loans cannot be included in a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan.
- You may choose your Federal Direct Consolidation Loan servicer (FedLoan Servicing, Nelnet, Sallie Mae or Great Lakes).
- You may complete the electronic Income-Driven Repayment Plan Request as part of the Direct Consolidation Loan process.
- If you have borrowed through the Federal Perkins Loan Program as an undergraduate, you may be eligible for cancellation of up to 100% of the outstanding balance on these loans for law enforcement or family service agency work. You will lose this benefit if you include your Perkins Loans in a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan.
- Repayment options on a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan are basically the same as those offered on your existing Federal loans.
- If you are planning to work in the public sector for ten years or more, you may obtain forgiveness of the balance remaining on your eligible Federal loans after 120 eligible monthly payments on these loans in a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan. See the Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.
Should I Consolidate My Federal Loans?
You may wish to consider consolidation, if:
- you have Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) loans that you borrowed after 10/1/07 which are ineligible for the Paye As You Earn (PAYE) Repayment Plan. Consolidating the FFELP loans will make them eligible for the PAYE Repayment Plan.
- you do not have a Direct Loan disbursement after 10/1/11 to become eligible for PAYE; you may consolidate any loans made after 10/1/07 to satisfy that requirement.
- you have multiple loan servicers and want to pay your Federal loans with a single monthly payment.
- MOST IMPORTANTLY, you have FFELP Loans and want to take advantage of the Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, you must consolidate those FFELP loans under the Federal Direct Consolidation Loan Program to make those loans eligible for the Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.
Will I Pay Less if I Consolidate?