Direct Consolidation Loans allow you to move all of your federal loans into one place and qualify for more income-driven repayment plans. As long as your loans are in the grace period or you’re making repayment, apply by filling out a quick form either online or in person.
What do I need to do before I apply?
Make sure you have the following documents and information before you get started on your application:
Statements from your servicer. If you’re not sure who your servicer is, you can log in to My Federal Student Aid with your FSA ID to check. Make sure the statements have your account number, estimated payoff amount and your servicer’s contact information listed. If not, reach out to your servicer for these details.
Your FSA ID. Your FSA ID is the ID you created when you filled out the FAFSA. You’ll need this to apply online.
Your contact information. The Department of Education asks for your permanent address, email and phone number when you apply.
You don’t need to hire help
You might have come across companies offering to complete your Direct Consolidation Loan application for a fee. The US Department of Education warns that this is unnecessary — you can easily complete it yourself for free. The government and its servicers don’t have any affiliation with companies that offer such services.
How to fill out the federal Direct Consolidation Loan application form
You can apply for a Direct Consolidation Loan either online or in person. Typically, it takes about 30 minutes if you have all of your information ready.
Follow these steps to get started with your online application:
Go to the Federal Student Aid (FSA) site and click Menu.
Click How to repay your loans, then click Loan consolidation.
Click How do I apply for a Direct Consolidation Loan?
Click You apply for a Direct Consolidation Loan through StudenLoans.gov.
Click Log in. Enter your FSA ID or email address and your FSA ID password, then click Log in.
Follow the instructions to get started on the application.
Applying by mail
Don’t want to apply online? You can also download a PDF of the application and fill it out by hand. Make sure you print using blue or black ink. All dates should be entered using numbers and the format mm-dd-yyyy unless otherwise indicated. If a field doesn’t apply to you, write N/A instead of leaving it blank.
Section 1: Borrower information
This section is about entering your basic personal information.
Item 1: Enter your last name, first name and middle initial.
Item 2: Enter any former legal names you might have had, such as a maiden name.
Item 3: Enter your Social Security number.
Item 4: Enter your birthday using numbers following mm-dd-yyyy.
Item 5: Enter the address you use for all of your official mail, including the street, city, state and ZIP code. If you use a PO box, list your residential address in addition to your PO box address — or give the instructions you’d normally give your mail carrier if you live on an unnamed street.
Item 6: Enter your phone number, including the area code.
Item 7: If you want to include your email address, enter it here — though it’s optional.
Item 8: Enter your state’s two-letter abbreviation, followed by your driver’s license number.
Item 9: Enter your employer’s name and address. Work for yourself? Enter your business’s name and address.
Item 10: Enter your work phone number if you have one.
Section 2: Reference information
For items 11 and 12, the Department of Education requires you to provide the names and contact information for two adults you’ve know for at least three years. They must live at separate addresses in the US and can’t live with you. Under each item, write your reference’s:
Last name, first name and middle initial.
Permanent address, including the street, city, state and ZIP code.
Email address — this one is optional.
Phone number, including the area code.
Relationship to you.
Section 3: Loans you want to consolidate
Before you do anything else, fill in your name and Social Security number at the top of the page.
For items 13 through 16, fill out the table with each federal loan you’d like to include in your Direct Consolidation Loan. For each loan, you need to have your:
Loan code. A letter that tells the Department of Education the type of loan you want to consolidate. You can find your loan code in the accordion below. Not sure which applies? Leave it blank.
Servicer’s contact information. Enter the name, mailing address and phone number for the company that handles your loan repayments.
Loan account number. Not to be confused with your loan code, this is the account number on your loan statement. If you have trouble finding it, contact your servicer.
Estimated payoff amount. This is the remaining amount you owe on your loan. It’s typically listed on your loan statement. Otherwise, reach out to your servicer.
For item 17, enter the month and year your grace periodends if you want to hold off on consolidating your loans until after your grace period is up.
A: Subsidized Federal Stafford Loan
B: Guaranteed Student Loan (GSL)
C: Federal Insured Student Loan (FISL)
D: Direct Subsidized Loan
E: Direct Subsidized Consolidation Loan
F: Federal Perkins Loan
G: Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan and Nonsubsidized Stafford Loan
H: Federal Supplemental Loan for Students (SLS)
I: Direct PLUS Loan for graduate or professional students
J: Unsubsidized Federal Consolidation Loan
K: Direct Unsubsidized Consolidation Loan
L: Direct Unsubsidized Loan
M: National Direct Student Loan (NDSL)
N: National Defense Student Loan (NDSL)
O: Subsidized Federal Consolidation Loan
P: Auxiliary Loan to Assist Students (ALAS)
Q: Health Professions Student Loan (HPSL)
R: Health Education Assistance Loan (HEAL)
S: Federal PLUS Loan for graduate or professional students
T: Federal PLUS Loan for parents
U: Direct PLUS Loan for parents
V: Direct PLUS Consolidation Loan
Y: Nursing Student Loan (NSL)
Z: Loan for Disadvantaged Students (LDS)
0: Direct Subsidized Loan (Subsidy Loss Eligible)
9: Direct Subsidized Consolidation Loan (Subsidy Loss Eligible)
Section 4: Loans you do not want to consolidate
Again, fill in your name and Social Security number at the top of the page before you do anything else.
For items 18 through 21, follow the same instructions as the previous section by filling out the table with the federal loans in your name that you don’t want to include in your Direct Consolidation Loan.
Section 5: Repayment plan selection
Read our guide to student loan repayment programs to find the right one for you. Once you’ve selected a plan, follow the FSA’s instructions to download and complete the application for that particular repayment plan. Attach it to your consolidation application.
Section 6: Borrower understandings, certifications and authorizations
Enter your name and Social Security number at the top of pages 4 and 5. Then, carefully read the understandings under item 22, certifications under item 23 and authorizations under item 24 to make sure you’re aware of your responsibilities as a Direct Consolidation Loan borrower.
Section 7: Promise to pay
Read the terms and conditions under items 25 through 29, then sign your name under item 30. Enter today’s date using numbers in the format mm-dd-yyyy.
Mailing the application
Mail pages 1 through 5, plus your repayment plan application to your loan servicer. Have multiple servicers? Reach out to each to verify where you should send your application.
What happens after I apply?
Your servicer starts processing your application as soon as it receives it. An employee might reach out by phone if they have any questions, so pick up the phone even if you don’t recognize the number.
In the meantime, continue paying off your loans as usual. At some point, you should receive a notice from the US Department of Education with information about your payoff amount — this will be your new loan balance — and a deadline to cancel or change your Direct Consolidation Loan application.
Only start making repayments on your Direct Consolidation Loan after your new loan servicer reaches out to you with instructions. If you have any questions before your servicer reaches out, call the Student Loan Support Center at 800-557-7394.
Have private student loans? Compare lenders to refinance
Applying to consolidate your federal student loans is simple and generally takes less than an hour. But if you have private student loans, you won’t be able to include them in your Direct Consolidation Loan.
Yes. You can add a new loan to your Direct Consolidation Loan by reaching out to your servicer within 180 days of the date it was made. This is the date the first federal loan you consolidated was paid off. Otherwise, you can apply for a new Direct Consolidation Loan to consolidate all of your student loans.
You can, as long as you make three monthly repayments in a row before you consolidate or agree to sign up for an income-driven repayment plan.
Anna Serio is a trusted lending expert and certified Commercial Loan Officer who's published more than 1,000 articles on Finder to help Americans strengthen their financial literacy. A former editor of a newspaper in Beirut, Anna writes about personal, student, business and car loans. Today, digital publications like Business Insider, CNBC and the Simple Dollar feature her professional commentary, and she earned an Expert Contributor in Finance badge from review site Best Company in 2020.
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