Direct Consolidation Loans allow borrowers to combine one or more of their Federal education loans into a new loan that offers several advantages.
One Lender and One Monthly Payment
With only one lender and one monthly payment due for student loans, it is easier than ever for borrowers to manage their debt. Borrowers have only one lender, the U.S. Department of Education, for all loans included in a Direct Consolidation Loan.
Flexible Repayment Options
Borrowers can choose from multiple repayment plans with various term selections to repay their consolidation loan(s),
including an Income Contingent Repayment and an Income-Based Repayment Plan. These plans are designed to be flexible to meet the different and changing needs of borrowers.
With a consolidation loan, borrowers can switch repayment plans at anytime. If you select the IBR Plan and want to change at a later date, your only option will be the Standard Plan.
No Minimum or Maximum Loan Amounts or Fees
There is no minimum amount required to qualify for a Direct Consolidation Loan! In addition, consolidation is free.
Varied Deferment Options
Borrowers with consolidation loans may qualify for renewed
deferment benefits. If borrowers have exhausted the deferment options on their current Federal education loans, a consolidation loan may renew those deferment options. In addition, borrowers may be eligible for additional deferment options if they have an outstanding balance on a FFEL Program loan made before July 1, 1993, when they obtain their first Direct Loan.
Reduced Monthly Payments
A consolidation loan may ease the strain on a borrower's budget by lowering the borrower's overall monthly payment. The minimum monthly payment on a consolidation loan may be lower than the combined payments charged on a borrower's Federal education loans.
Retention of Subsidy Benefits
There are two (2) possible portions to a consolidation loan: Subsidized and Unsubsidized.
Borrowers retain their subsidy benefits on loans that are consolidated into the subsidized portion of a consolidation loan.
Temporary In-School Consolidation Authority
During a one (1) year period, borrowers who meet certain requirements may consolidate loans that are in an in-school
status into a Direct Consolidation Loan. Direct Consolidation Loans may be made under this temporary provision to borrowers whose consolidation applications are received on or after July 1, 2010 and before July 1, 2011.
Borrowers will lose the grace period on a FFEL Subsidized/Unsubsidized Stafford Loan or Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan by consolidating the loan while it is in an in-school status. Similarly, PLUS borrowers who consolidate a Federal PLUS Loan or Direct PLUS Loan that was first disbursed on or after July 1, 2008 will lose the six (6) month post-enrollment deferment period. Parent PLUS borrowers who consolidate a Federal PLUS Loan or Direct PLUS Loan that was first disbursed on or after July 1, 2008 will lose eligibility to defer repayment while the student for whom the loan was obtained is in school.
here for information on the eligibility requirements for this