However, if you increase the length of your repayment period, you'll also make more payments and pay more in interest. Be sure to compare your current monthly payments to what monthly payments would be if you consolidated your loans.
You also should consider the impact of losing any borrower benefits offered with the original loans. Borrower benefits from your original loan, which may include interest rate discounts, principal rebates, or some loan cancellation benefits, can significantly reduce the cost of repaying your loans. You might lose those benefits if you consolidate.
If you want to lower your monthly payment amount but are concerned about the impact of loan consolidation, you can consider reevaluating your budget and income situation. You can also consider deferment or forbearance as options for short-term payment relief needs.
Once your loans are combined into a Direct Consolidation Loan, they cannot be removed. The loans that were consolidated are paid off and no longer exist.
Most federal student loans, including the following, are eligible for consolidation:
- Direct Subsidized Loans
- Direct Unsubsidized Loans
- Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans
- Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans
- Direct PLUS Loans
- PLUS loans from the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program
- Supplemental Loans for Students (SLS)
- Federal Perkins Loans
- Federal Nursing Loans
- Health Education Assistance Loans
- some existing consolidation loans
Private education loans are not eligible for consolidation. If you are in default, you must meet certain requirements before you can consolidate your loans.
A PLUS loan made to the parent of a dependent student cannot be transferred to the student through consolidation. Therefore, a student who is applying for loan consolidation cannot include the PLUS loan the parent took out for the dependent student’s education.
A complete list of the federal student loans eligible for consolidation is available in the application.
Repayment of a Direct Consolidation Loan can begin 60 days after the loan is disbursed, or sooner. Your loan servicer will let you know when the first payment is due. The repayment term ranges from 10 to 30 years, depending on the amount of your consolidation loan, your other education loan debt, and the repayment plan you select.
Note: If any loan you want to consolidate is still in the grace period, you can delay entering repayment on your new Direct Consolidation Loan until closer to your grace period end date. You will indicate this when you apply, and the consolidation servicer will wait to process your application until the appropriate time.
This depends on your needs. ED has resources to assist you before you apply, while you complete the application, and after you submit your application.
To ask questions about consolidating your loans before you apply for a Direct Consolidation Loan, contact the Loan Consolidation Information Call Center at 1-800-557-7392.
To request technical assistance while signed in and completing the Federal Direct Consolidation Loan Application and Promissory Note online, select the “Contact Us” tab in the top menu bar of StudentLoans.gov. From there, you can either complete and submit the feedback form or select “Additional Information” and contact the Student Loan Support Center at the phone number provided.
To ask questions after you submit your Federal Direct Consolidation Loan Application and Promissory Note, contact the consolidation servicer you selected to complete the actions required to consolidate your eligible loans. If you submitted your application electronically, your consolidation servicer’s contact information was provided at the end of the electronic process. If you submitted a paper application by U.S. mail, your consolidation servicer’s contact information was available when you downloaded or printed the paper application.