These include deferment, forbearance, cancellation, and affordable repayment rights.

Also, federal consolidation loans generally have lower interest rates.

Consolidation loan borrowers should not be charged origination fees.

If you already have a consolidation loan with either FFEL or Direct, you are not allowed to “reconsolidate’, except in limited circumstances.

Direct consolidation loans are now the only type of federal student consolidation loan.

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.

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.

Using Studentloans.gov: You will need to sign in using your personal identifiers and PIN. You have four different “consolidation servicers”: Fed Loan Servicing (PHEAA), Great Lakes, Nelnet and Sallie Mae (now called Navient). (“Joint and several liability” means that both borrowers are fully liable for the full amount of the debt). Not surprisingly, this caused a lot of problems for borrowers and Congress eliminated the program as of July 1, 2006.

The electronic application consists of five steps: 1. If may make this choice on-line or if you are sending in a paper application, you should send directly to the servicer you choose. The Department provides some general information about servicer performance in the on-line data center and quarterly performance reports. There are still many borrowers struggling with joint consolidation loans.

Borrowers in default may also consolidate in certain circumstances.

Consolidation was previously available to borrowers while they were still in school. Congress also eliminated joint consolidation for spouses, effective July 1, 2006.

Both spouses are jointly liable for the loan and both must request IBR.