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09-Dec-2017 11:46

Your monthly payments will be fixed on the standard plan, or start small and slowly increase on the graduated plan.

If you’re consolidating loans that are in a grace period, you can ask the servicer to delay processing your request. Once you’ve filled in all the required sections, you’ll have to sign and submit the application.

Some debt relief companies offer to consolidate your loans for a fee, but this isn’t necessary. You’ll have to submit your name, address, Social Security number, driver’s license state and number, contact information and two references who’ve known you for at least three years. This information should be on your monthly billing statement.

“Never pay a fee to consolidate your student loans,” says Kantrowitz. You don’t need to consolidate all your loans, and doing so may be a bad idea in some circumstances.

If the servicer delays processing, you won’t have to make your first payment until the end of your loan’s grace period. You can submit it online or mail the completed paper application to one of the servicers that manages Direct Consolidation Loans.

Or, you may research your options and determine you shouldn’t use either.

It’s not difficult to qualify for federal student loan consolidation, but you do have to meet certain criteria.