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The Department strongly encourages borrowers to apply on-line, but you may also download and print a paper application to submit by regular mail. Prior to July 1, 2006, married borrowers could choose to consolidate federal student loans from both spouses or jointly consolidate the loans of either spouse.The Department provides the following contact information if you have questions: If necessary, you can also try calling the general Student Loan Support Center at 1-800-557-7394. Both borrowers had to agree to be jointly and severally liable for repayment.These include deferment, forbearance, cancellation, and affordable repayment rights.Also, federal consolidation loans generally have lower interest rates.Loans that are not eligible for consolidation include state or private loans that are not federally guaranteed.Although all of these different loans may be consolidated, you must have at least one outstanding FFEL or Direct Loan to obtain a Direct Consolidation Loan.As you weigh the pros and cons, keep in mind that timing is critical.With just a few exceptions, you get only one chance to consolidate with the government loan programs.
Under the Direct Loan Consolidation Program, you can consolidate Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans, Supplemental Loans for Students (SLSs), Federally Insured Student Loans (FISLs), PLUS Loans, Direct Loans, Perkins Loans, Health Education Assistance Loans (HEALs), and just about any other type of federal student loan.
Another common problem is that partial discharge of a joint consolidation loan under any of the discharge programs (other than death discharge) does not eliminate joint liability for the remaining balance.
Further, borrowers with joint FFEL consolidation loans, according to the Department, may not reconsolidate into Direct Loans and therefore are not eligible for public service loan forgiveness. The fixed rate is based on the weighted average of the interest rates on the loans at the time of consolidation, rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of a percentage point.
WARNING: It is very dangerous to consolidate federal loans into a private consolidation loan.
You will lose your rights under the federal loan programs once you choose to consolidate with a private lender.