Yet despite the appeal -- and its popularity -- student loan consolidation isn't for everyone.
Here are some frequently asked questions and answers that may help determine if it's the right move for you.
Private consolidation lenders, on the other hand, are not subject to those terms and may include variable rates and any number of fees.
What's more, some benefits of a federal consolidation loan, such as interest subsidies on deferred loans, are not available on private loans.
To a college grad swamped with multiple student loans that have come due, loan consolidation is an enticing option.
As with the Stafford Loans, there are both Direct and FFEL consolidation programs.
(There are no prepayment penalties for student consolidation loans.)If you have only a couple more years or a few thousand more dollars to go till you pay off your student loans, consolidation is probably more hassle than it's worth.
The key terms for federal consolidation loans do not vary by lender: no application or origination fees are allowed and there are no prepayment penalties.
Federal law sets the period of time for paying back the loans and sets a ceiling on the interest rate.
You may also have access to a new repayment schedule (like an income-contingent plan) that's a little easier on your wallet.
If you don't care about the extra cash and just want a consolidation for the simplicity of a single monthly payment, you can use any money you save to pay down the principal.