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Consolidating your federal loans through the Department of Education is free; steer clear of companies that charge fees to consolidate them for you.

When you consolidate federal loans, your new fixed interest rate will be the weighted average of your previous rates, rounded up to the next ⅛ of 1%.

If you have Perkins loans, think twice before consolidating them; you’ll lose access to Perkins loan cancellation if you do.

Federal loan servicers are private companies that manage federal loans for the Department of Education.

Here’s how: Federal student loan consolidation basics How to consolidate federal student loans Student loan refinancing basics Compare student loan refinance lenders When you consolidate federal loans, the government pays them off and replaces them with a direct consolidation loan.

The tool shows you how much you’d pay per month on the various plans.

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.

The remainder of the application involves filling in basic personal information and providing names of two references who have known you for at least three years.

After you review, sign and submit your application, continue making payments on your existing federal loans until your application has been processed.

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