When you consolidate student loans, you combine all your existing student loans into one policy to make single monthly payments instead of multiple payments. You must get a Direct Consolidation Loan to consolidate federal student loans.
However, you can’t consolidate all federal student loans. Keep reading to learn what types of federal student loans you can combine into a Direct Consolidation Loan.
What Types of Federal Student Loans Can I Consolidate?
The following federal student loans are eligible for consolidation:
- Auxiliary Loans to Assist Students
- Direct PLUS Loans
- Direct Subsidized Loans
- Direct Unsubsidized Loans
- Federal Insured Student Loans
- Federal Perkins Loans
- FFEL Consolidation Loans and Direct Consolidation Loans (only under certain conditions)
- Guaranteed Student Loans
- Health Education Assistance Loans
- Health Professions Student Loans
- Loans for Disadvantaged Students
- National Defense Student Loans
- National Direct Student Loans
- Nurse Faculty Loans
- Nursing Student Loans
- Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students
- PLUS loans from the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program
- Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans
- Supplemental Loans for Students
- Unsubsidized and Non-subsidized Federal Stafford Loans
You may not consolidate your parents’ Direct PLUS Loans with other federal student loans. You also may not consolidate defaulted loans that your loan provider is collecting through wage garnishment. In the latter case, you may consolidate a garnished federal student loan once the court lifts the wage garnishment order.
How Do I Qualify for a Direct Consolidation Loan?
The standard eligibility requirement for Direct Consolidation Loans is that your federal student loans must be in repayment or in the grace period. The point of consolidating your federal student loans is to make a single monthly payment instead of multiple payments for different loans. So, you may combine any of the above federal student loans into one repayment method.
You may repay your new Direct Consolidation Loan under the following repayment plans:
- Income-Based Repayment Plan
- Income-Contingent Repayment Plan
- Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan
- Revised Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan
Can I Consolidate With an Existing Consolidation Loan?
You may consolidate an existing consolidation loan if you include another eligible federal student loan in your new consolidation loan. Meanwhile, you may reconsolidate an existing FEEL Consolidation Loan without additional federal student loans if the FEEL Consolidation Loan meets the following circumstances:
- The FEEL Consolidation Loan is delinquent or defaulted, and you intend to repay your new Direct Consolidation Loan under an income-driven repayment plan.
- You are reconsolidating your FEEL Consolidation Loan to qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.
- You are reconsolidating your FEEL Consolidation Loan as an active-duty service member to utilize the no-accrual-of-interest benefit.
Conclusion: Can You Consolidate Federal Student Loans?
Yes, you can consolidate federal student loans by applying for a Direct Consolidation Loan. This type of loan combines qualified federal student loans into one repayment plan so you can avoid making multiple payments on different federal loans.
You cannot consolidate certain federal loans, including Direct PLUS Loans and defaulted loans in garnishment. However, you may consolidate existing consolidation loans under certain circumstances.
Review the federal student loans you have and see if they qualify for a Direct Consolidation Loan. If you have several federal student loans under different providers, consolidation will help simplify your repayment process by giving you a single monthly bill.