Various students consider loan consolidation in case they are dealing with multiple loans due to various benefits like lowered interest rates and simplified loan repayment options. While these benefits are attractive to many, some may wonder how long it takes to consolidate student loans, what is the process, and whether it is worth it.
The consolidation process timeline is influenced by various factors, hence students must gather information on all aspects of the student loan consolidation process, benefits, and more.
How long does student loan consolidation take?
It typically takes from 30 to 45 business days to achieve student loan consolidation. The total duration depends upon whether it is a federal or private loan. Once the loan consolidation is settled, the loan repayment begins 60 days after the loan is paid.
Federal loans are granted through the US Department of Education, so a student must fill in the Federal Direct Consolidation Loan Application and Promissory Note as the primary step, which takes up to 30 minutes.
The designated authorities will process the consolidation request, which may take anywhere between 30 and 45 days.
However, if additional documents are required or the verification process is taking time, the timeline to complete the consolidation process extends to up to 75 days.
Since private student loans cannot be consolidated, students can refinance them which may take only a few business days. This is because private loans are provided by a private lender i.e. a bank, a credit union, or an online lender. By refinancing, individuals switch to other private lenders for better interest rates.
When you refinance federal loans, they are converted into private loans. While refinancing takes less time compared to consolidation in the majority of cases, the timeline may extend from 10 business days to up to 2-3 weeks, based on the lender.
How do I consolidate federal student loans?
To consolidate federal student loans, ensure you meet the eligibility criteria and other vital document requirements. Once the eligibility criteria are met, you can start the consolidation process by following the steps given below:
- Head to the Federal Student Aid (FSA) website.
- You may already have an FSA account because of previously filled documents for student loans.
- Log in to your existing FSA account or create a new account on studentaid.gov.
- Ensure to keep the original loan documents handy, if necessary.
- The website may import user data to the application automatically.
- Head to the FSA ‘Loan repayment’ menu and select ‘consolidate loans’ from the drop-down menu options.
- Some of the details asked in the student loan consolidation application include:
- Personal details and contact information
- Specifics for federal loans you wish to consolidate
- The necessary repayment loan play type, loan servicer, and grace period
- Employer details
- Name and contact information for two references
- Direct consolidation loan application include the terms, conditions, and responsibilities one must agree to.
- Sign your application with the date of application before final submission.
- Your loan application approval may take up to six weeks.
- Final confirmation will be shared along with the new due amount, dates, and lender details.
- Once a new loan service is assigned, students may need to create a new account on the website.
This is how you can consolidate federal loans, manage your account, and make consolidated loan payments with the designated loan servicer.
How do I consolidate private student loans?
As the consolidation process is reserved for federal loans, students cannot consolidate private loans, rather they can refinance them. Refinancing private loans is an ideal choice for students if they can lock in a lower interest rate which leads to lowering the monthly payments.
The lower interest rate depends on diverse factors such as your credit score, job history, educational background, and income levels. Before you begin the process, take an honest assessment of your finances including your credit score and debt-to-income ratio.
Steps to refinance private student loans
- Take your time to research various student loan consolidation companies/refinance lenders.
- This ensures they cater to your specific needs for domestic and international loans.
- Submit your basic details to the desired lenders to check the prequalification details.
- Once you find the lowest interest rate possible, confirm your lender.
- Check the terms of the loan service including:
- Whether the interest rate is fixed or variable
- Repayment options
- Overall cost towards the loan maturity
- Formally complete the official application form with the preferred lender.
- Some of the details asked by a private lender include:
- Personal identification and contact information
- Employer information
- Contact details for personal reference
- Your graduation date and degree
- Account details of all the loans
- Once the loan application is approved, sign all the required documents.
Once, the application process is complete, wait for the new lender to pay off the current lender and proceed to pay the current lender until the refinancing is complete.
How to consolidate student loans into a direct loan program?
The direct consolidation process allows borrowers to lend money directly from the US Department of Education. A direct loan program amalgamates two or more federal loans into a single loan with a fixed interest rate. The interest rate depends on the weighted average of interests of different consolidated loans.
Direct loan programs are preferable to consolidate diverse loan types like Federally Insured Student Loans, Supplemental Loans for Students, PLUS loans, and Perkins loans to name a few.
Following is the process for the direct consolidation loan process:
- Direct consolidation loans are granted through the Federal Direct Student Loan Program.
- Check the benefits and terms and conditions of the original loans.
- Get familiar with the repayment terms, interest rate discounts, and rebates.
- Complete the free loan consolidation application, verify the interest rates, etc.
- Once the borrower confirms the loan terms and agrees to repay the consolidated loans, a single monthly payment is devised.
NOTE – When a new consolidated loan is confirmed, the borrower may lose benefits to previous individual loans.
Should I Consolidate My Student Loans?
Yes, consolidating or combining multiple student loans can be worth it for students. It eases the loan application process, lowers overall interest rates, and streamlines the repayment options. Whether you choose to consolidate federal student loans or refinance loans via private institutions, it can be a smart move for the following reasons:
- It helps manage debt efficiently with a single loan payment each month instead of many individual payments to different loan institutions.
- Consolidation typically allows more time to pay off the debt and reduces the monthly payment each month.
- One fixed interest rate ensures that students need not worry about different loans from different lenders that could increase the costs in the long run.
On a final note
Considering the details mentioned above, it is clear that the student loan consolidation application process depends on multiple factors including the type of loan, method of consolidation, and the time taken to verify documents. To avail of the benefits of consolidation at the earliest, maintain open communication with the loan lenders, plan, provide all details accurately, and stay patient with them.
Who Are We?
A valuable resource for customers, ContactForSupport, is an excellent phone directory with a database of more than 10,000 companies across 100+ categories. For students who are stuck with the loan consolidation process or need quick updates from the authorities, we can help them connect with the right representatives without any hassle.
Frequently Asked Questions
It may only take up to 30-45 business days to consolidate student loans.
Yes, you can consolidate subsidized loans with unsubsidized loans with the help of direct loan programs.
Yes, loan consolidations streamline the monthly payments making it easier for borrowers to pay to a single loan provider.
One of the key disadvantages is that it may lengthen the total loan repayment period.
You can consolidate student loans only once.
It depends on the type of loans being consolidated together. Take into account that refinancing federal loans to private ones may pose risks.
Some key advantages include lower interest rates, single payment of all loans, and improvement in credit health.
It may take anywhere from 30 to 45 days to consolidate federal loans.
No, there is no way to accelerate the loan consolidation process.