There are a few things to consider if you're interested in consolidating. Firstly, you have to be approved for your consolidation. Now, the Direct Loan program is the only program consolidating federal student loans, so they will have to approve you. Secondly, your interest rate will change. Because you are going from several loans with differing interest rates into one loan with one rate, an average rate of your existing interest rates will be created. Thirdly, your monthly payment will likely decrease. If you have three payments of $50, then you will be paying a total of $150 plus interest. If you consolidate, your payment may drop to $100. If that's the case, then you'll be saving yourself $50 a month. Fourthly, the length of your loan might change, and you may end up paying more in the end due to the change of interest.
Usually, there are three factors that go into deciding whether you want to consolidate or not:
- Do I want a lower monthly payment now
- Am I willing to owe more over the life of the loan
- Should I combine the loans to make them easier to handle