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You will need a verified Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID as well as personal information and financial information.

Student defines these as follows: If you have only a couple more years or a few thousand more dollars to go till you pay off your student loans, consolidation is probably more hassle than it’s worth.

Fin maintains a list of student loan institutions, including large banks; private companies like Sallie Mae; and state education system lenders like the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority and the Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority.

Student loan consolidation is the process of taking multiple outstanding loans and reorganizing them into one monthly payment.

Consolidation loans like the Stafford Loans, for example, can help make this possible with Direct and Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) consolidation programs.

If you need more cash in your pocket right now, consolidation can help by extending the life of your loan and thus trimming your monthly payments — although the length of your repayment terms will depend on the amount of debt you have, and you may not be able to extend at all.

But if interest rates are low you can lock in long-term savings, since less of your money will go to interest.

If you’ve already been paying off your loans for a while, you can consolidate at any time.

Interest rates are determined by the federal government and change each year on July 1, so check with a lender to get their take on possible rate fluctuation.Switching to a new lending institution might eliminate any benefits you’ve earned, like lower interest rates for on-time payments over the years.Plus, consolidating could make it impossible for you to have a Perkins Loan forgiven or reduced.(There are no prepayment penalties for student consolidation loans.) On sites like Student Loans.gov, the student loan consolidation process must be completed in one single session.In most cases, this process can take less than 30 minutes.The key terms for federal consolidation loans do not vary by lender: no application or origination fees are allowed and there are no prepayment penalties.

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