Are My Loans Eligible for Consolidation?
Both private and federal student loans may be consolidated, as long as they’re in one borrower’s name—usually the student or the parent(s). Other details you should know:
• Federal student loans. These loans—including subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford, PLUS, and Perkins, among others—may all be consolidated into one single monthly payment that may give you greater repayment options.
• Private student loans. Whether you took out loans from one lending institution or 10, you can consolidate them all. Consolidation may lower your interest rate, and, as with federal loans, may expand your payment options. Keep in mind that you don’t need to use the original lender when you consolidate.


Am I Eligible to Consolidate?
Probably. Both students and parents who’ve taken out education loans can consolidate what they owe. Specifically, you must meet one of these criteria:
• Students taking less than a half-time course load. If you’re out of school or attending less than half-time, you’re able to consolidate. Students with at least a half-time course load aren’t eligible, though they can consolidate during the six-month grace period after leaving school and/or once you begin repaying loans.
• Parents who borrowed for their child’s education. Unlike the restrictions placed on students, parents can consolidate student loans any time—even if their child is still in school full-time.


What’s the Difference Between Federal and Private Consolidation?
It’s all about qualification. Federal loans are very easy to consolidate, while private loan consolidation is a more rigorous process. Private lenders need to be sure you qualify, which means they’ll sort through indicators of your financial stability, such as income verification, credit score, credit history, and employment track record. You can boost your odds of being approved by enlisting a co-signer with proven financial stability.