Student Loan Consolidation
Federal Loan Consolidation is a process where existing federal loans can be combined into one loan. Federal Loan Consolidation is FREE, and can be done online at studentloans.gov. You will need to use your FSA User ID and Password but all other information will already be on file. All federal loans (Stafford, Parent PLUS, Graduate PLUS, Perkins) in the borrower’s name will be listed as available for consolidation. Please note that loans in a parent’s name cannot be consolidated into the student’s name or legal responsibility, even through consolidation.
You do not need to consolidate loans to take advantage of reduced payments or Public Service Loan Forgiveness if your qualified loans are already being handled by one servicer. You should contact your loan servicer directly to see if you are eligible to participate in loan forgiveness or reduced payment schedules. You can find your servicer name and contact information by logging into the National Student Loan Database.
Private Consolidation Services
There are companies that advertise services to help students consolidate their federal loans. While these services are not breaking the law, the services they provide are not free. We do not recommend using services other than studentloans.gov for consolidation. Private companies will ask for your personal information (name, social security number, address, FAFSA or FSA User IDs and passwords). Do not provide this data to anyone. You can get the same services for FREE through your loan servicer.
Some banks may also offer “consolidation” plans but this is not Federal Loan Consolidation. We strongly encourage you to be aware that private consolidations will most likely not offer the benefits of Federal Loan Consolidation such as:
- In School Deferment
- Economic Hardship Deferment
- Income-Based Repayment Plans
- Public Service Loan Forgiveness
- Employment and Service Cancellations (Perkins)