Most also have limits on how much you can consolidate.Know that you might need a higher credit score if you want the best rates without a co-signer.

consolidating federal student loans information-25consolidating federal student loans information-53

"That creates tremendous flexibility, especially for families applying for loans for multiple kids."Students consolidating federal loans can do so through the Department of Education's website at Loan gov, by phone at (800) 557-7392 or by downloading a paper application at Loan gov/borrower/and mailing it in.

Almost all types of federal loans can be consolidated.

Here's what you need to know before deciding to consolidate student loans.

Loan consolidation is when a borrower takes out a new loan to pay off several smaller student loans.

Instead of making multiple payments to multiple lenders, the borrower only has to pay off the new consolidation loan, says Michelle Pezzulli, vice president of operations for Credit Union Student Choice, a student lending service provider in Washington, D.

C."That new loan will have its own interest rate; it will have its own repayment terms; it will have its own terms and conditions," she says.It also means if you're a new grad with little credit history, you might need a co-signer to be eligible.If a co-signer is necessary, O'Connor says borrowers should ask if there's a co-signer release option after a certain period of time."With (our student loan program), if the borrower makes 12 months of on-time principal and interest payments, they can request to release the co-signer," he says.Private lenders require borrowers to pass a credit check to get the best rates.That means if your score isn't superhigh, you could wind up paying more if you consolidate.And once consolidated, they usually have variable interest rates, O'Connor says. Consolidating private student loans when interest rates are low (like now) "could potentially save thousands of dollars." It also means your interest rate can fluctuate higher as the years tick by.