Can You Consolidate Private and Federal Student Loans Together?

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You could leave college with multiple student loans for many reasons. You might have had to take out a loan each year, or you might have needed multiple loans to cover a year’s costs.

Consolidating those loans into a new loan with one payment is a simple way to lower your monthly costs and streamline the repayment process.

If you have federal student loans and private student loans, you can refinance both into a new private loan. But you should consider your options first before making a decision, as you’ll lose certain benefits that come with federal loans, including income-driven repayment plans and eligibility for loan forgiveness.

Here are your options for consolidating federal and private loans together:

Can I consolidate private and federal student loans together?

No. If you have private and federal student loans, you can’t consolidate both into a new federal loan.

For student loans, the term consolidation typically refers to federal student loans, whereas private student loans are refinanced.

Keep in mind: One primary difference is that federal student loans have fixed interest rates determined by Congress each year. A student could, in theory, have four different federal student loans with four different interest rates when they graduate.

When you consolidate your federal loans, you combine all the student loan balances from each year of school into one Direct Consolidation Loan with a single monthly payment. Your credit score isn’t a factor when determining your new interest rate. Instead, it will be a weighted average of the rate you were paying on the loans you consolidated.

If you have private student loans, or a combination of federal and private loans, you can combine them into a new private loan by refinancing. Your interest rate on the new loan will be based on your credit score and income.

Learn More: How to Find Your Student Loan Balance

How to consolidate federal student loans

The U.S. Department of Education offers this option at no cost to you, which can make your loan repayment more manageable.

When you consolidate your federal student loans, the government determines the median interest rate for all included loans and rounds up by one-eighth of a percentage point, so most borrowers won’t get an overall lower interest rate. The new interest rate is the rate for the loan’s entire life.

Consolidating your federal student loans has several benefits, including simplifying your monthly budget. You’ll still have access to federal benefits, like income-driven repayment plans and loan forgiveness programs.

But you can also expect some drawbacks. When you consolidate your federal student loans, you’ll lose any rate discounts and credit toward any payments you were making toward loan forgiveness under an income-driven payment plan. You can choose to consolidate some of or all your loans.

The table below shows how a Direct Consolidation Loan can affect your monthly payment, depending on the repayment term you choose.

For each loan, we assumed balances of $23,000 (the maximum Direct Subsidized Loan amount allowed per year for undergraduate students) and the standard 10-year repayment plan that’s the default for all student loans. We used the federal student loan rates applicable to each academic year the loans were for.

Direct Subsidized Loans Balance Interest rate Monthly payment Consolidated balance Consolidated payment by term
Loan 1 (2018-19 academic year) $23,000 5.05% $245 $92,000 10 years: $937
Loan 2 (2019-2020 academic year) $23,000 4.53% $239 $92,000 15 years: $687
Loan 3 (2020-21 academic year) $23,000 2.75% $219 $92,000 20 years: $564
Loan 4 (2021-22 academic year) $23,000 3.73% $230 $92,000 30 years: $446
Total monthly payments: $933

How to consolidate private student loans

If you have multiple private student loans and you want to consolidate them into one monthly payment, you’ll need to refinance your loans. This allows you to combine the separate balances into a new loan with one monthly payment. Refinancing private loans potentially allows you to lower your interest rate too.

One potential drawback is that when you refinance your private student loans, you could end up with longer repayment terms. If you choose a longer repayment term, your monthly payment will be lower, but you could pay more interest over time.

When you’re ready to refinance your student loans, compare rates from multiple private lenders using Credible’s online marketplace to ensure you can find the best fit for your financial needs.

The student loan consolidation companies in the table below are Credible’s approved partner lenders. Because they compete for your business through Credible, you can request rates from all them by filling out a single form. Then, you can compare your available options side-by-side. Requesting rates is free, doesn’t affect your credit score, and your personal information is not shared with our partner lenders unless you see an option you like.

Lender Variable rates from (APR) Fixed rates from (APR)

Credible Rating

Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.
N/A 2.94%+
  • Fixed APR: 2.94%+
  • Variable APR: N/A
  • Min. credit score: Does not disclose
  • Loan amount: $7,500 up to $500,000
  • Loan terms (years): 10, 15, 20
  • Max. undergraduate loan balance: $250,000 – $500,000
  • Time to fund: 4 months
  • Repayment options: Immediate repayment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees: None
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: Must be a resident of Kentucky
  • Customer service: Phone
  • Soft credit check: No
  • Cosigner release: After 12 months
  • Loan servicer: Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corporation
  • Max. graduate loan balance: $250,000 – $500,000
  • Credible Review: Advantage Education Loan review
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing : Yes

Credible Rating

Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.
4.07%+ 2.4%+
  • Fixed APR: 2.4%+
  • Variable APR: 4.07%+
  • Min. credit score: 690
  • Loan amount: $10,000 to $400,000
  • Loan terms (years): 5, 7, 10, 15, 20
  • Repayment options: Military deferment, forbearance
  • Fees: Late fee
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: Must have a credit score of at least 720, a minimum income of $60,000, and must be a resident of Texas
  • Customer service: Email, phone
  • Soft credit check: Does not disclose
  • Cosigner release: No
  • Loan servicer: Firstmark Services
  • Max. Undergraduate Loan Balance: $100,000 – $149,000
  • Max. Graduate Loan Balance: $200,000 – $400,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing: Does not disclose

Credible Rating

Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.
2.24%+1 4.29%+1
  • Fixed APR: 4.29%+1
  • Variable APR: 2.24%+1
  • Min. credit score: Does not disclose
  • Loan amount: $10,000 to $750,000
  • Loan terms (years): 5, 7, 10, 15, 20
  • Repayment options: Immediate repayment, academic deferment, military deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees: Late fee
  • Discounts: Autopay, loyalty
  • Eligibility: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and have at least $10,000 in student loans
  • Customer service: Email, phone, chat
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Cosigner release: After 24 to 36 months
  • Loan servicer: Firstmark Services
  • Max. Undergraduate Loan Balance: $100,000 to $149,000
  • Max. Graduate Loan Balance: Less than $150,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing: Yes

Credible Rating

Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.
3.44%+2 3.99%+2
  • Fixed APR: 3.99%+2
  • Variable APR: 3.44%+2
  • Min. credit score: Does not disclose
  • Loan amount: $5,000 to $300,000
  • Loan terms (years): 5, 7, 10, 12, 15
  • Repayment options: Military deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees: Late fee
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: All states except for ME
  • Customer service: Email, phone, chat
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Cosigner release: After 24 to 36 months
  • Loan servicer: College Ave Servicing LLC
  • Max. Undergraduate Loan Balance: $100,000 to $149,000
  • Max. Graduate Loan Balance: Less than $300,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing: Yes

Credible Rating

Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.
4.41%+5 4.41%+5
  • Fixed APR: 4.41%+5
  • Variable APR: 5.03%+5
  • Min. credit score: 700
  • Loan amount: $7,500 to $200,000
  • Loan terms (years): 5, 10, 15, 20
  • Repayment options: Immediate repayment, academic deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees: None
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and submit two personal references
  • Customer service: Email, phone
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Cosigner release: After 36 months
  • Loan servicer: Granite State Management & Resources (GSM&R)
  • Max. Undergraduate Loan Balance: $150,000 to $249,000
  • Max. Graduate Loan Balance: $150,000 to $199,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing : Yes

Credible Rating

Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.
1.86%+3 3.99%+3
  • Fixed APR: 3.99%+3
  • Variable APR: 1.86%+3
  • Min. credit score: 680
  • Loan amount: $10,000 to $250,000
  • Loan terms (years): 5, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20
  • Repayment options: Forbearance
  • Fees: None
  • Discounts: None
  • Eligibility: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, have at least $15,000 in student loan debt, and have a bachelor’s degree or higher from an approved school
  • Customer service: Email, phone
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Cosigner release: No
  • Loan servicer: Mohela
  • Max. Undergraduate Loan Balance: $250,000
  • Max. Graduate Loan Balance: $250,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing: Yes

Credible Rating

Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.
3.67%+4 5.18%+4
  • Fixed APR: 5.18%+4
  • Variable APR: 3.67%+4
  • Min. credit score: 670
  • Loan amount: $5,000 to $250,000
  • Loan terms (years): 5, 10, 15, 20
  • Repayment options: Academic deferment, military deferment, forbearance
  • Fees: Late fee
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: Must be U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Customer service: Email, phone, chat
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Cosigner release: Yes
  • Max undergraduate loan balance: $250,000
  • Max graduate loan balance: $250,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS refinancing: Yes

Credible Rating

Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.
N/A 4.5%+
  • Fixed APR: 4.5%+
  • Variable APR: N/A
  • Min. credit score: 670
  • Loan amount: $10,000 up to the total amount
  • Loan terms (years): 7, 10, 15
  • Repayment options: Military deferment, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees: None
  • Discounts: None
  • Eligibility: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and have at least $10,000 in student loans
  • Customer service: Email, phone
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Cosigner release: No
  • Loan servicer: AES
  • Max. Undergraduate Loan Balance: No maximum
  • Max. Gradaute Loan Balance: No maximum
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing: Yes

Credible Rating

Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.
N/A 5.49%+
  • Fixed APR: 5.49%+
  • Variable APR: N/A
  • Min. credit score: 670
  • Loan amount: $7,500 to $300,000
  • Loan terms (years): 5, 8, 12, 15
  • Repayment options: Does not disclose
  • Fees: None
  • Discounts: None
  • Eligibility: Must be a U.S. citizen and have and at least $7,500 in student loans
  • Customer service: Email, phone, chat
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Cosigner release: After 12 months
  • Loan servicer: PenFed
  • Max. Undergraduate Loan Balance: $300,000
  • Max. Graduate Loan Balance: $300,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing: Yes

Credible Rating

Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.
N/A 4.29%+
  • Fixed APR: 4.29%+
  • Variable APR: N/A
  • Min. credit score: 680
  • Loan amount: $7,500 to $250,000
  • Loan terms (years): 5, 10, 15
  • Repayment options: Academic deferment, military deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees: None
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: Available in all 50 states; must also have at least $7,500 in student loans and a minimum income of $40,000
  • Customer service: Email, phone
  • Soft credit check: Does not disclose
  • Cosigner release: No
  • Loan servicer: Rhode Island Student Loan Authority
  • Max. Undergraduate Loan Balance: $150,000 – $249,000
  • Max. Graduate Loan Balance: $200,000 – $249,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing: Yes
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All APRs reflect autopay and loyalty discounts where available | 1Citizens Disclosures | 2College Ave Disclosures | 5EDvestinU Disclosures | 3 ELFI Disclosures | 4INvestEd Disclosures | 7ISL Education Lending Disclosures

To refinance your loans, you’ll need to provide all the lender information for each loan, including the total balance, payment amount, and contact information. You may also need to have your account numbers available. Once your loan is processed, your new lender will pay off your previous loan balances.

Important: Keep making payments on all your existing loans until you get confirmation that your new lender has paid off the loans.

Check Out: When to Refinance Student Loans

Should I consolidate my student loans?

If you’re consolidating your federal student loans or private loans, you’ll likely find the benefits outweigh any potential drawbacks. Streamlining your payments can make the monthly budgeting process much more manageable.

But if you want to consolidate your federal and private student loans, you’ll need to decide if the benefits outweigh some potentially more significant drawbacks. Consolidating your student loans could get you a lower interest rate, especially if you have a healthy credit history. A lower interest rate means lower monthly payments and a lower loan cost overall.

Keep in mind: If you refinance your federal student loans into a private loan, you’ll lose access to federal benefits and protections, which could be very helpful if you run into financial problems in the future. Federal student loan borrowers have access to income-driven repayment plans, student loan forgiveness, and forbearance options.

If you want to maintain your federal student loan benefits but also want one monthly payment, consolidating your federal student loans into a federal Direct Consolidation Loan could be helpful.

CARES Act

Federal student loan payments are currently paused and interest rates are set at 0% as part of the CARES Act, a response by the federal government to help citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic. The repayment pause is set to expire on Aug. 31, 2022, though it could be extended again. If you currently have federal student loans on pause, you might want to wait until payments resume to consider a refinance since it’s hard to beat a 0% interest rate.

If you have private student loans, refinancing could be beneficial if you can secure a lower interest rate on your refinance loan.

Whether you have federal student loans or private student loans, you should use an online loan calculator to estimate what your new payments could look like so you can decide if refinancing or consolidating are good options for you.

Step 1. Enter your loan balance

Step 2. Enter current loan information

Step 3. Enter your new loan information to start calculating your savings

Lifetime Savings Increased Lifetime Cost $
New Monthly Payment $
Monthly Savings Increased Monthly Cost $

If you refinance your student loan at % interest rate, you can save will pay an additional $ monthly and pay off your loan by . The total cost of the new loan will be $.


Does refinancing make sense for you?
Compare offers from top refinancing lenders to determine your actual savings.

Check Personalized Rates
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How to get relief for student loans

If refinancing or consolidating your student loan debt isn’t the right solution, you may have other options. Most loan servicers have deferment and forbearance options that can offer you a temporary reprieve from your monthly payments. Your loan servicer may require a balloon payment at the end of the deferment or allow you to add your missed payments to the end of your loan.

Federal student loan borrowers have many options, including income-driven repayment plans, Graduated Repayment Plans, forbearance, Extended Repayment Plans, and the Revised Pay as You Earn Repayment Plan.

If you can’t make your monthly student loan payments, you should contact your loan servicer to learn about your available options.

About the author
Angela Brown
Angela Brown

Angela Brown is a student loan, personal finance, and real estate authority and a contributor to Credible. Her work has appeared in Fox Business, LendingTree, FinanceBuzz, and Yahoo Finance.

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