Loan Details

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Education Consolidation Loans

Program Description

Consolidation Loans are available to most borrowers of Federal education loans and come from one of two sources:
  • Direct Consolidation Loans are made by the U.S. Department of Education. You repay a Federal Consolidation Loan to the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Federal Consolidation Loans are made through the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program.  While FFEL funds come from private lenders, such as banks and credit unions, they are subsidized and supported by the U.S. Department of Education.  You repay a FFEL Consolidation Loan to the private lender that made the loan or to its designated agency.

Whether you receive a Direct or FFEL Consolidation Loan depends on which program you choose.  In either case the terms of the loan (loan amounts, interest rate, and other benefits) are generally the same.

General Program Requirements

Most Federal student loans are eligible for consolidation, including subsidized and unsubsidized Direct and Federal Family Education (FFEL) Stafford Loans, Direct and FFEL PLUS Loans (parent loans), Federal Perkins Loans, Federal Nursing Loans, and Health Education Assistance Loans.  Private educational loans are not eligible.

You can get an FFEL Consolidation Loan during your grace period, once you have entered repayment, or during periods of deferment or forbearance.  Direct Consolidation Loans are also available when you are still in school.  Borrowers who are in default must meet certain requirements before they may consolidate their loans.

Loan Terms

Maximum Loan Amount: none

Interest Rate: weighted average interest rate on the loans being consolidated, rounded to the nearest one-eighth of 1 percent, not to exceed 8.25 percent. Currently, the interest rate is fixed for the life of the loan. To get an estimate of your interest rate, go to the Online Calculator at

Maximum Loan Length: 30 years

Frequency of Payments: monthly or quarterly

Prepayment penalties: none

Fees: none

Your Next Steps
The following information will lead you to the next steps to apply for this benefit.

Application Process

To apply for a Direct Consolidation Loan, contact the Loan Origination Center's Consolidation Department at 1-800-557-7392. TTY users for the hearing impaired may call 1-800-557-7395. Or, you can go to

To apply for a FFEL Consolidation Loan, contact the consolidation department of a participating FFEL lender for an application or more information.

Program Contact Information

For more information, visit:

Managing Agency

U.S. Department of Education