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Ideally, you would qualify for debt consolidation after graduation.

However, you also could qualify when you leave school or are enrolled less than half-time.

There also is a section detailing certifications, terms and conditions and borrower’s rights and responsibilities.

If you sign and date the application, it is a binding contract.

Both federal and private lenders recognize that lower monthly payments help may be the best option, if you don’t get the job you want immediately after graduating from colleges.

Find out more about the choices debt consolidation offers.

Student loan consolidation won’t strengthen your credit rating directly, but the benefits of consolidation can ensure your score continues to trend upward.

The Federal Direct Consolidation Loan program starts with filling out an application and promissory note at this site.

You can’t consolidate private loans in the federal Direct Consolidation Loan program, but some private lenders allow you to consolidate federal and private loans together. Your rate is determined by the weighted average of the interest on the loans being consolidated rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of 1%.

The Direct Consolidation Loan program is the right choice if your goal is to simplify the process for repaying federal loans and keep your options open for the many repayment plans available for federal loans. If you’re using private lenders for student loan consolidation, there is a chance you could get a better interest rate and possibly lower monthly payments. That’s because federal loan rates are so low – fixed rates of 4.45% for undergraduates, 6% for graduates in 2017-2018 – that it’s difficult for private lenders to beat the rates and make a profit.

Still, some companies, like So Fi and Lend Key, have found a way to offer students a competitive rate and a variety of repayment conditions.

These are private loans where credit score and other conditions are weighed in. All federal and private student loans are installment loans and considered good debt because it represents an investment in your future.

If you would like to add other eligible loans, your servicer must receive your Request to Add Loans Form within 180 days from the date your Direct Consolidation Loan is completed (originated).