The interest rate must not exceed 8.25% for consolidation loans prior to July 2013.
However, the interest rate may be greater than 8.25% if your consolidation application was received on or after July 1, 2013.
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.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.There are numerous problems that can arise–for example, if one of the divorced ex-spouses wants to apply for IBR.The Department says that borrowers with joint consolidation loans may repay under the IBR/PAYE plan as long as both spouses qualify with partial financial hardships.These circumstances are: Borrowers cannot consolidate private student loans with the federal consolidation loan programs.