If you choose an income-driven plan, you’ll be asked to provide income information on the application by granting access to your IRS tax information.
You can opt out, but you’ll have to submit a copy of your most recent federal tax return directly to your loan servicer after you finish the consolidation application.
Private consolidation is often referred to as refinancing.
These processes are often confused, but they’re very different.
When you consolidate federal loans, your new fixed interest rate will be the weighted average of your previous rates, rounded up to the next ⅛ of 1%.
You can choose one of four servicers for your new direct consolidation loan: Fed Loan Servicing, Great Lakes Educational Loan Services Inc., Navient and Nelnet.
If your loans are already with one of those servicers, you can stay or choose a new one.
The remainder of the application involves filling in basic personal information and providing names of two references who have known you for at least three years.
After you review, sign and submit your application, continue making payments on your existing federal loans until your application has been processed.