You'll also preserve the robust benefits of federal student loans, such as Income-Based Repayment, that private lenders don't offer.

However, you'll need to carefully consider your personal situation in order to make this decision - since the interest rate you'll receive is a weighted average among all your existing loans, rounded to the nearest 1/8 of a 1%, you might actually raise the overall amount you pay in interest.

Now, let's get started on how to consolidate your student loans.

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But the truth is, you have more control than you think.

That’s what our Student Loan Smarts series is all about—helping you understand all of your options so you can make decisions that fit with your financial goals. Choosing to consolidate or refinance student loans.

You may also qualify for a low interest rate, which can net you significant savings over the life of your loan.

This Huffington Post piece can help you pick the best type of consolidation loan in just five steps.

If you're consolidating with the federal government, consolidating your loans means combining your multiple federal student loans into one new federal loan, called a Direct Consolidation Loan.

You have some flexibility in picking your loan term, but you'll simply receive an interest rate that's a weighted average of your existing rates.You can only consolidate federal, not private, student loans through this program.(Note: You cannot consolidate federal and private student loans together through the federal government, either.) You can consolidate an existing Direct Consolidation Loan so long as you have a new eligible loan with which it can be consolidated.And while you’re at it, check out So Fi’s new Student Loan Debt Navigator tool to assess your student loan repayment options.Student loans have a way of making you feel powerless.For consolidating with a private lender, research which lender offers the right options for you. Kaitlin Butler is Content Manager at Common Bond, a student lending platform that provides a better student loan experience through lower rates, exceptional customer service and a commitment to community.