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The basics of federal and private consolidation loans are outlined below.How Federal Consolidation Loans Work Borrowers can combine multiple (at least two or more) federal loans into a single Direct Consolidation Loan (this is the only federal consolidation loan available).
The following table illustrates how a weighted average works.
In this example, there are three students that each have three loans.
The new Direct Consolidation Loan provides a single fixed interest rate that is equal to the weighted average of all the loans being consolidated, and the interest rate is rounded up to the nearest eighth of a percent (0.123%).
A weighted average means that the loans with a higher balance influence the interest rate more than loans with a smaller balance – the overall impact of each old loan on the new interest rate is proportional to the comparative balance of that loan.
We start by discussing the basics of student loan consolidation and refinancing, and comparing the benefits and drawbacks of federal and private consolidation loans.
We then detail a step-by-step guide to using and choosing consolidation loans.Federal consolidation loans can only be used for federal student loans, but private consolidation loans can be used for both federal private student loans.Consolidation loans repay old loans with a brand new loan that has its own unique terms and conditions.To be eligible, borrowers must have a clean credit history and a “good” FICO credit score (“good” is 670 and above according to FICO).Borrowers with a poor credit history may still be able to qualify if they can secure a cosigner with good credit.Additionally, certain lenders only offer loans to those who have graduated or have completed a specific type of degree.Federal and private consolidation loans both have unique advantages and drawbacks – not one option is right for everyone.All types of federal student loans can be consolidated together except a Direct PLUS Loan that was taken out by a parent to help pay for a child’s education (student PLUS loans can still be consolidated).However, private loans can’t be included in a federal consolidation loan.Some lenders require that the borrower’s debt-to-income ratio be below a certain threshold.Many lenders also factor in a borrower’s employment stability and prospects – they may even have minimum annual income requirements.