When consolidating your student loans you’ll be combining your federal and single loans with only one single monthly repayment. This can reduce you repayments which are required under the 10 year repayment plan. Only lenders that are under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program can provide consolidation loans. So you can consolidate your loans with banks, credit unions, secondary markets and other lenders besides private education lenders. The government provides their loans under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) program.

If you have a federal education loan then you’re most likely eligible for student loan consolidation. This also applies to subsidized and unsubsidized Direct and FFEL loans, Federal Nursing loans, SLS and Health Edu Assistance loans. But if you have a student loan that is private then you won’t be able to consolidate your federal loan. And if you’re a parent then you’ll also be able to qualify for loan consolidation.

Once you’ve figured out that you need to consolidate your federal loans then the next step is finding the right lender. If you want to apply for a Direct Loan consolidation or a FFEL consolidation you can apply online. Just do a quick search for direct loan or FFEL loan consolidation and visit the top 3 lenders websites. There will be online application available for you and you can even get a response within days.

You can also contact the lender to apply via telephone if you’re not sure about the online application. You’ll receive the standard consumer disclosure statements and all the fine print detail which I suggest you read very carefully.

Make sure when you read the fine print to any loan that you look for any hidden fees. Nothing worse then signing up to a lender who’s going to make you pay more for you loan then you expected. Hidden charges are very common with low interest rates. You don’t want to look for a lender who’s offering the lowest rate in town without any pre requirements from you.

Most lenders offer average rates but if you pay on time or if you open up a banking account with them you can lower your rates. You should compare rates between various lenders before you consider signing up. Ask each lender about all their hidden charges. They have to tell you any hidden charges if any by law. Compare rates and repayments thoroughly. You’ll soon find which lender has the better offer which is often not the lowest interest rate. It pays to be through so good luck with your consolidation loan hunting.