Check the federal student aid website for a list of the types of loans that qualify.Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans are eligible for all income-driven repayment plans.Direct Loan Consolidation can help simplify your student loan repayment strategy and may even lower your monthly payments.

If you consolidate your loans, the qualifying payments you made don’t transfer to the new loan. If you have these loans and consolidate, you’ll no longer qualify for loan cancellation under that program.

Be sure to talk to your servicer before consolidating to be sure you won’t lose any benefits that you’d prefer to keep.

Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plans can not only potentially lower your monthly payments, but they also qualify you for forgiveness of the remaining balance at the end of the repayment term.

Plus, if you are eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), which provides tax-free forgiveness after 120 qualifying payments, it’s to your benefit to consolidate so that you’re eligible for income-driven plans.

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So, if you have a loan or loans with significantly higher interest rates, it may be better to leave those out of a consolidation and focus your early repayment efforts on them to get rid of them more quickly.

If you have a solid income and great credit, you may be able to score a lower interest rate, a lower payment, or both through refinancing.

Take the time to review your situation and the benefits and drawbacks of Direct Loan Consolidation before making a decision.