Consolidating student loans advice

To a college grad swamped with multiple student loans that have come due, loan consolidation is an enticing option.

When you consolidate, a lending institution pays off your existing balances and replaces them with a new, consolidated loan.

You can’t consolidate private loans in the federal Direct Consolidation Loan program, but some private lenders allow you to consolidate federal and private loans together.

Consolidating your federal loans through the Department of Education is free; steer clear of companies that charge fees to consolidate them for you.

When you consolidate federal loans, your new fixed interest rate will be the weighted average of your previous rates, rounded up to the next ⅛ of 1%.

Disclosure: Student Loan Hero is a free website to help student loan borrowers.

We only evaluate lenders and do not issue student loans.

Yet despite the appeal -- and its popularity -- student loan consolidation isn't for everyone.

Here are some frequently asked questions and answers that may help determine if it's the right move for you.

With student loan consolidation, you may be able to refinance at a lower interest rate, decrease your monthly payment, or both!

When you apply, most banks and lenders will look at your credit score, annual income, savings, and college degree type (or certificate of enrollment if still in school).

As part of the process, you’ll need to provide details about your existing federal student loans, and choose a federal loan servicer and repayment plan for your new consolidation loan.

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