Loan Consolidation

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What is a Federal Consolidation Loan?

 A Federal Consolidation Loan is a loan that allows a borrower to combine all eligible federal education loans into a new loan with a single payment and an extended repayment period up to 30 years.

Which loans can I consolidate?

  • Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans
  • Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans
  • Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Consolidation Loans
  • Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Consolidation Loans
  • Federal Insured Student Loans (FISL)
  • Guaranteed Student Loans (GSL)
  • Federal PLUS Loans (for parents or for graduate and professional students)
  • Direct PLUS Loans (for parents or for graduate and professional students)
  • Direct PLUS Consolidation Loans
  • Federal Perkins Loans
  • National Direct Student Loans (NDSL)
  • National Defense Student Loans (NDSL)
  • Federal Supplemental Loans for Students (SLS)
  • Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)
  • Auxiliary Loans to Assist Students (ALAS)
  • Health Professions Student Loans (HPSL)
  • Health Education Assistance Loans (HEAL)
  • Nursing Student Loans (NSL)
  • Loans for Disadvantaged Students (LDS)

You may only consolidate loans that are in a grace period or in repayment (including loans in deferment or forbearance). At least one of the loans that you consolidate must be a Direct Loan Program loan or a Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loan.

Am I eligible for loan consolidation?

 You may apply for a Consolidation Loan during your grace period or once you’ve entered repayment. Stafford and PLUS borrowers may consolidate their loans at any time during repayment including periods of deferment or forbearance.

What will be my interest rate?

 The Federal Consolidation loan interest rate is a fixed rate equal to the weighted-average of the interest rates of the loans being consolidated rounded up to the nearest 1/8 of 1% but not exceeding 8.25%.

Who should I call for a Federal Consolidation Loan?

The Federal Direct Consolidation Loan website is a one-stop shop for information, resources, contact information and the consolidation application process: http://loanconsolidation.ed.gov.

Are there fees that I must pay to receive a Federal Consolidation Loan?

There are no processing or application fees associated with consolidating a loan.

How long do I have to repay my Federal Consolidation Loan?

Total Education Costs
Max. Debt Payback Period
$ 7,500 - $ 9,999.99
12 years
$10,000 - $19,999.99
15 years
$20,000 - $39,999.99
20 years
$40,000 - $59,999.99
25 years
$60,000 or more
30 years

What are my repayment options?

The Federal government offers a choice of repayment plans including a level payment plan and different graduated income sensitive repayment plans. For specific details regarding the repayment plans offered visit the Federal Direct Loan Consolidation web site: http://loanconsolidation.ed.gov. You will be asked to specify the repayment plan that best fits your needs on the Federal Consolidation Loan Application and Promissory Note.

Are there deferments available on a Federal Consolidation Loan?

If you meet certain requirements, you may receive a deferment that allows you to temporarily stop making payments on your loan. If you cannot make your scheduled loan payments, but do not qualify for a deferment, we may give you a forbearance. A forbearance allows you to temporarily stop making payments on your loan, temporarily make smaller payments, or extend the time for making payments.

Deferment: You may receive a deferment while you are:

  • Enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school;
  • In a full-time course of study in a graduate fellowship program;
  • In an approved full-time rehabilitation program for individuals with disabilities.
  • Unemployed (for a maximum of three years; you must be conscientiously seeking, but unable to find, full-time employment); or
  • Experiencing an economic hardship (including Peace Corps service), as determined under the Act (for a maximum of three years).
  • Serving on active duty during a war or other military operation or national emergency, or performing qualifying National Guard duty during a war or other military operation or national emergency, and if you are serving on or after October 1, 2007, for the 180-day period following the demobilization date for your qualifying service.

Effective October 1, 2007, if you are a member of the National Guard or other reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces (current or retired) and you are called or ordered to active duty while enrolled at an eligible school, or within 6 months of having been enrolled, you are eligible for a deferment during the 13 months following the conclusion of the active duty service, or until the date you return to enrolled student status, whichever is earlier.

You may be eligible to receive additional deferments if, at the time you received your first Direct Loan, you had an outstanding balance on a loan made under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program before July 1, 1993. For a list of qualifying criteria, go to http://loanconsolidation.ed.gov/borrower/brights.html.

Forbearance:

  • The federal government will give you forbearance if: You are serving in a medical or dental internship or residency program, and you meet specific requirements:
  • You are serving in a national service position for which you receive a national service education award under the National and Community Service Act of 1990 (AmeriCorps);
  • You qualify for partial repayment of your loans under the Student Loan Repayment Program, as administered by the Department of Defense.
  • You are performing service that would qualify you for loan forgiveness under the teacher loan forgiveness program that is available to certain Direct Loan and FFEL program borrowers; or
  • The total amount you owe each month for all of the student loans you received under Title IV of the Act is 20 percent or more of your total monthly gross income (for a maximum of three years).


In addition, we may give you a forbearance if you are temporarily unable to make your scheduled loan payments for reasons including, but not limited to, financial hardship or illness.

For additional information, including processing instructions, go to http://loanconsolidation.ed.gov/borrower/brights.html.

May I add to my Federal Consolidation Loan once it's been made?

Yes, you may add any other/new eligible loan(s) to your outstanding consolidation loan, provided you make the request within 180 days of the date the consolidation loan is made. You may also be eligible for a subsequent consolidation loan if you wish to consolidate your existing consolidation loan with at least one other eligible loan.

If I consolidate my loans, can I re-consolidate if the rates should go lower?

No, once a loan is consolidated it cannot be re-consolidated at a lower rate.

If my loans are in repayment and I’ve already earned discounted rates due to borrower benefits, if I consolidate will I lose my lower rates?

Yes, by definition a consolidated loan is a new loan with a new interest rate and current borrower benefits will not apply.

If I choose to consolidate and then change my mind, can it be undone?

No, once a loan is consolidated it remains consolidated because the borrower completed a promissory note.

Do you have to take the entire consolidation repayment term to pay off the loan?

 There is no penalty for pre-payment. 

What if you default and have a consolidated loan?

Several instances could occur:

  • Collection costs and legal expense
  • Damage your credit
  • Wages could be garnished
  • Tax refund withheld

What if I receive solicitation from a Consolidating Company?

If you have questions, contact Direct Loans at (800) 557-7392 or go to the Federal Direct Consolidation Loans website:

http://loanconsolidation.ed.gov/index.html