Student Loan Consolidation Rates

If you want to repay your federal student loans effectively, you must understand what loan consolidation entails and the rates at which your loan will be charged.  

Many people with student loans often have multiple types of loans, resulting in multiple payments and due dates each month. 

When you consolidate your student loans, you join them into one payment, simplifying the process with just one monthly payment.

Hence, a consolidation loan lets you merge one or more federal education loans into a new Direct Consolidation Loan. It also makes you eligible for federal forgiveness programs.

Read Also: Student Loan Refinance Rates 

Student Loan Consolidation Rates

Student Loan Consolidation Rates

The Consolidation Loan program is a good option if you want to simplify repaying federal loans and have access to various repayment plans. 

When you consolidate your federal student loans, the interest rate is determined by taking the weighted average of the interest rates on the loans being consolidated and rounding up to the nearest one-eighth of 1%.

The consolidation rate will then be the rate at which you will be charged interest on the new consolidated loan amount.

It’s important to note that loan consolidation does not result in a lower interest rate; it may increase slightly. 

Instead, it provides the convenience of having a single loan with a fixed interest rate and one monthly payment.

On the other hand, you can try private lenders for consolidation. They might offer better rates and lower monthly payments, but it’s a slim chance because federal loan rates are already quite low.

How to Consolidate Federal Direct Loans 

You can apply for loan Consolidation either online or by mail. The online application usually takes less than 30 minutes to complete. 

You’ll need information about your loans and accounts for this. The application will ask for basic details like your name, social security number, date of birth, and address. 

It will also determine which loans you want to combine and your preferred repayment plan.

A section in the form explains the rules, conditions, and your rights and responsibilities as a borrower.

If you sign and date the application, it becomes a binding agreement. You need to submit it before signing to be processed.

After submitting your application, a loan servicer will take care of the consolidation process and be your contact for any questions you have about your application.

While the consolidation is in progress, keep making loan payments unless your loans are in deferment, forbearance, or grace period. 

Only stop making payments once your consolidation servicer confirms that your new Direct Consolidation Loan has paid off your previous loans.

The Direct Consolidation Loan process has no fees, and the application is free. 

Federal student loans, including Direct Loans and FFEL Program Loans, can be consolidated using this program.

Consolidating Your Student Loan With Private Lenders

When you consolidate student loans with private lenders, it’s like refinancing your loans. 

Combining multiple student loans, whether federal or private, only makes sense if you get a lower interest rate and more favorable monthly payment terms. 

Refinancing private student loans can save money by securing a lower interest rate.

The interest rate you’ll be offered depends on your financial history, including your credit score, income, job history, and educational background. 

Typically, you’ll need a credit score of at least the high 600s to qualify, and the average interest rates for refinancing range from around 5% to over 9%.

Best Companies to Refinance Student Loans in 2023

Some of the Best Priave lenders with reasonable rates include:

1.  Earbest 

Fixed APR: 4.96% – 8.99%
Variable APR: 5.32% – 8.94%

2. SoFi

Fixed APR: 4.99% – 9.99%
Variable APR: 5.99% – 9.99%

3. Lankey

Fixed APR: 5.24% – 10.68%
Variable APR: 0% – 0%

4. Laurel Road 

Fixed APR: 5.24% – 10.99%
Variable APR: 4.99% – 10.89%

5. Brazos

Fixed APR: 4.40%
Variable APR: 5.07%

6. Citizens

Fixed APR: 6.80%
Variable APR: 6.83%


Fixed APR: 5.08%
Variable APR: 5.28%

8. EdvestinU

Fixed APR: 6.00%
Variable APR: 7.80%

9. INvestEd

Fixed APR: 5.90%
Variable APR: 8.12%

10. Nelnet Bank

Fixed APR: 5.34%
Variable APR: 7.35%

Read Also: Best 9 Student Loan Refinance Lenders for 2023

When to Use Refinancing Over Loan Consolidation

Refinancing and loan consolidation are two distinct approaches to managing student loan debt. 

Deciding between the two depends on your financial goals, loan types, and current financial situation. 

Here are situations where refinancing may be a better option than loan consolidation:

1. Lowering Interest Rates

While student loan consolidation is beneficial because of the low interest on federal loans, having lower rates for a consolidated loan is not guaranteed.

Refinancing is a suitable choice to secure a lower interest rate on your student loans. 

Private lenders consider factors such as credit score, income, and financial history to determine your new interest rate.

Hence, refinancing can offer significant interest rate savings if you have a good credit score and improved financial standing since taking out your loans.

2. Consolidating Federal and Private Loans

Private lenders have the advantage of consolidating both federal and private student loans into a single loan. 

This can simplify loan management and provide a more streamlined repayment process.

On the other hand, the Direct Consolidation Loan program offered by the government does not include private loans, limiting its consolidation benefits.

3. Seeking Lower Monthly Payments

Refinancing may lead to lower monthly payments if the new interest rate is lower than your current rates. 

Extending the loan term or securing a better interest rate can reduce your monthly financial burden.

4. Improving Repayment Terms

Refinancing allows you to choose new repayment terms that suit your financial situation better. 

You can opt for shorter or longer loan terms, depending on your ability to make payments.

5. Flexibility with Private Lenders

Private lenders offer more flexibility in terms of loan options and benefits. You can find lenders that offer perks such as interest rate discounts for autopay or incentives for good academic performance.

6. Targeting Private Loans

If you have federal and private student loans and wish to focus on refinancing private loans, then refinancing is the preferred option. 

Federal loan consolidation does not offer the benefit of refinancing private loans.

7. Debt Repayment Strategy

Refinancing is an excellent option for borrowers with a clear debt repayment strategy and seeking to optimize their finances over the long term.

However, loan consolidation might be more suitable if your primary goal is simplifying repayment and managing federal loans under one lender.

Related Questions 

What’s the Difference Between Loan Consolidation and Loan Refinancing?

Refinancing combines federal and/or private loans into a new single loan, while consolidation combines federal loans into a new loan amount.

When Can I Consolidate My Loans?

You can generally consolidate your loans after graduation, leave school, or go below half-time enrollment. 

The loans you want to consolidate must be in repayment or a grace period.

When Do I Start Repaying My New Consolidation Loan?

A federal consolidation loan repayment will begin within 60 days after the loan is paid out. Your loan servicer will tell you of the first payment due date.

Can I Consolidate Student Loans When I Have Bad Credit?

Federal student loan consolidation doesn’t require a credit check, so even with bad credit, you can qualify. 

A federal Direct Consolidation Loan can even help rehabilitate student loans if they default.

However, consolidating private student loans is more complicated. If your credit score is under 650, you will unlikely qualify for consolidation from private lenders. 

You’ll need a co-signer with good credit and must continue to pay bills on time to improve your credit score.

Can I Consolidate Defaulted Student Loans?

Yes, you can consolidate defaulted student loans. But, you must make three consecutive on-time payments on your defaulted loans. 

Consolidating your loans will remove them from default status, but the negative mark will remain on your credit report. 

Alternatively, you can choose student loan rehabilitation to remove defaulted loans from your credit report.

Read Also: Student Loan Settlement

Final Thoughts 

Student loan consolidation rates play a significant role in determining the financial benefits of consolidating loans. 

While federal loan consolidation offers the convenience of combining multiple loans into a single payment, it may only sometimes result in a lower interest rate. 

On the other hand, private lenders can offer competitive rates based on factors like credit score and income, making refinancing an attractive option for those seeking lower interest rates and reduced monthly payments.

Remember that while you can refinance federal and private student loans, holding off on refinancing federal loans for now might be better. 

Federal student loan interest rates are presently at zero, and payments are paused until later this year. 

You should wait until the student loan payment forbearance ends and any potential loan cancellation or income-driven repayment credits are applied if you qualify.

It is crucial for borrowers to carefully consider their financial situation and long-term goals before deciding whether to pursue loan consolidation or refinancing.


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