The good news is that the Department explains on its web site that if any loan you want to consolidate is still in the grace period, you can delay entering repayment on your new Direct Consolidation Loan until closer to your grace period end date.
You can indicate this when you apply, and the consolidation servicer will wait to process your application until the appropriate time.
(see box below), You can consolidate during grace periods.
This may lead to a lower interest rate on a Direct Consolidation loan, but only if you are consolidating variable rate loans. You will generally receive your first bills within 60 days after the new Direct Consolidation loan is made.
These include deferment, forbearance, cancellation, and affordable repayment rights.
Also, federal consolidation loans generally have lower interest rates.
Another common problem is that partial discharge of a joint consolidation loan under any of the discharge programs (other than death discharge) does not eliminate joint liability for the remaining balance.
Further, borrowers with joint FFEL consolidation loans, according to the Department, may not reconsolidate into Direct Loans and therefore are not eligible for public service loan forgiveness. The fixed rate is based on the weighted average of the interest rates on the loans at the time of consolidation, rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of a percentage point.
Consolidating federal student loans may be a good strategy to lower monthly payments or to get out of default, but it is not always a good idea.Direct consolidation loans are now the only type of federal student consolidation loan.Under the Direct Loan Consolidation Program, you can consolidate Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans, Supplemental Loans for Students (SLSs), Federally Insured Student Loans (FISLs), PLUS Loans, Direct Loans, Perkins Loans, Health Education Assistance Loans (HEALs), and just about any other type of federal student loan.APPLYING FOR DIRECT LOAN CONSOLIDATION The Department generally requires all borrowers to apply for Direct Loan consolidation using the web site. It is very important to review this sheet and check to make sure all of the loans you wanted to consolidate are included in the new consolidation loan.
(Click espanol to find a Spanish version of the on-line application). Be sure to meet the deadline for responding if you think there are problems with the consolidation or if you have decided you do not want to go forward.Consolidation loan borrowers should not be charged origination fees.