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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.

» MORE: Student loan refinance calculator: Should I refinance?

Federal loan consolidation doesn’t have a credit requirement, and it offers the benefit of a single loan bill and potentially lower payments.

Learn more about the free services available to you.

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If you have private loans only, or you don’t plan to take advantage of those federal protections, compare refinance lenders to get the lowest possible rate.

Strongly consider lenders that offer the most flexibility on payments and multiple options for forbearance.

Those include the option to tie payments to income and get loans forgiven if you work for the government or a nonprofit.But unlike the federal government, they can consolidate both federal and private loans.The goal with this process is not only to get the ease of a single payment, but to receive a lower interest rate based on your financial history. You can consolidate all, just some, or even just one of your student loans.Consolidating federal student loans may be a good strategy to lower monthly payments or to get out of default, but it is not always a good idea. 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. Here’s how to choose a strategy — federal student loan consolidation, refinancing through a private lender or income-based repayment — that will make your payments more affordable. We believe everyone should be able to make financial decisions with confidence. This may influence which products we review and write about (and where those products appear on the site), but it in no way affects our recommendations or advice, which are grounded in thousands of hours of research. " To see how much you’d pay monthly using each option — refinancing, federal consolidation and income-driven repayment — enter a few details about your loans in the consolidation calculator below.You don't have to pay for student loan services or advice.Our expert representatives have access to your latest student loan information and understand all of your options.Before you consolidate, consider the following pros and cons: Note: Just remember, you must continue making payments after submitting your application until you receive notice from your servicer that underlying loans have been paid off.You have the option to select the servicer of your choice (of which, Nelnet is an option) After your new Direct Consolidation Loan is complete, you may still add more eligible loans to your existing consolidation.

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