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And while our site doesn’t feature every company or financial product available on the market, we’re proud that the guidance we offer, the information we provide and the tools we create are objective, independent, straightforward –- and free. " There are two types of student loan consolidation: federal and private.
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Your financial history — including your credit score, income, job history and educational background — will dictate your new interest rate when you refinance.
You typically need a credit score at least in the mid-600s to qualify, and rates range from around 2% to more than 9%.
[Back to top] Applying for consolidation takes most borrowers less than 30 minutes, according to the Federal Student Aid website.
As part of the process, you’ll need to provide details about your existing federal student loans, and choose a federal loan servicer and repayment plan for your new consolidation loan.
You have to complete the application in a single session, so do your research before you start.
Private consolidation is often referred to as refinancing.
These processes are often confused, but they’re very different.
If you have Perkins loans, think twice before consolidating them; you’ll lose access to Perkins loan cancellation if you do.