If you are thinking about consolidating your federal student loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan, the good news is that virtually all federal student loans are eligible for this program.

Private student loans, on the other hand, cannot be included in a federal Direct Consolidation Loan. (A private student loan is a loan that is made by a private party, such as a bank, that is not guaranteed by the federal government.)

Federal Student Loans That Can Be Consolidated

Specifically, it is possible to consolidate the following federal student loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan:

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  • Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans, Guaranteed Student Loans, Federal Insured Student Loans, Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Subsidized Consolidation Loans, Federal Perkins Loans, National Direct Student Loans, National Defense Student Loans, Federal PLUS Loans (for parents or for graduate and professional students), Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS), Direct PLUS Loans (for parents or for graduate and professional students), Direct PLUS Consolidation Loans, Federal Consolidation Loans, Unsubsidized and nonsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans, Federal Supplemental Loans for Students, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Consolidation Loans, Auxiliary Loans to Assist Students, Health Professions Student Loans, Loans for Disadvantaged Students, Health Education Assistance Loans, and Nursing Student Loans.

Restrictions on Federal Direct Consolidation Loans

While it’s true that most federal student loans can be consolidated under this program, there are a few restrictions. For example:

  • Married couples aren’t allowed to consolidate their separate loans into in one, shared Direct Consolidation Loan. (In past years, it was possible for married couples to consolidate their loans together. Also, if you already have an existing joint consolidation loan, you cannot consolidate it under this program.)
  • PLUS loans that are made to the parent of a dependent student cannot be passed to the student through a Direct Consolidation Loan. (Basically, this means that a student who applies for a Direct Consolidation Loan cannot include a PLUS loan taken out by his or her parent in the Direct Consolidation Loan.)
  • If you defaulted on a federal student loan and there is a court judgment against you on that loan, the loan cannot be part of the consolidation—unless a court vacates the judgment.
  • If you defaulted on a federal student loan and there is now an order for wage garnishment in place because of that loan, the loan cannot be included in the consolidation—unless the order is lifted.

Where You Can Go to Find Out Which Type of Loans You Have

If you don’t know what type of federal student loans you have, you can access information about them at the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) at https://www.nslds.ed.gov. This is the Department of Education’s main database for student aid.

In order to get information about your federal student loans from this website, you will need a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID (which is a username and password). To apply for your FSA ID, if you don’t already have one, go to https://nslds.ed.gov/npas/index.htm and click on “Create An FSA ID.” You can also call 1-800-557-7394 to get assistance with this. Further information is available at https://studentloans.gov or https://studentaid.ed.gov/FSAID.