In short, the term “consolidation” is used to describe the process of combining multiple loans into a single loan while the term “refinancing” is used to describe the process of using a more advantageous loan to repay an older loan.While refinancing is often used in other realms of finance (like mortgages) to describe repaying a single older loan with a new loan, consolidating with a private loan technically includes refinancing as well since the term and interest rate of the new loan are different from the old loans.

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Student loan debt is a grave concern in modern America.

In fact, the amount of debt from student loans topped $1.3 trillion at the end of 2016, and 68% of seniors graduating from public and nonprofit colleges have student debt – the average is $30,100.

The last section is dedicated to identifying the best private consolidation loans for those with a few different financial profiles.

There are two types of consolidation loans: federal and private, and they each come with distinct advantages and drawbacks.

Only loans that are in repayment or in the grace period are eligible for consolidation, and a Direct Consolidation Loan must include at least one Direct or FFEL Program Loan.

Loans that have been in default can be consolidated after three consecutive monthly payments have been made or if the borrower agrees to repay the consolidation loans under an income-driven repayment plan (where the payments are based on the income of the borrower).

Student loan consolidation or refinancing can be a great tool to use for those looking to save on, or simplify, their monthly payments, but going that route can also have serious consequences if not approached carefully – there are even student loan consolidations scams to be aware of.

That’s why we created this guide – to give borrowers a useful resource that empowers them to choose if student loan consolidation is right for them and which type may best suit their needs.

Because the interest rate is a weighted average and rounded up, borrowers won’t ever save money on interest by opting for a federal consolidation loan unless the loans are pre-2006 and have a variable interest rate.