Consolidating student loans in

Private loans aren’t eligible for the same consolidation rules and options as federal loans.

Remember that applying for federal consolidation is free. The Bottom Line Consolidation not only bundles your loans into fewer payments, it renegotiates the loans' terms.

For more information, read Two Types of Loans The rules for consolidation are different depending on the type of loan you have. They may be serviced by companies other than the Department of Education, but they are still considered government loans.

Private loans come from banks, credit unions or other lenders.

A study by the Project on Student Debt of the Institute for College Access & Success reported that seven in 10 students in the class of 2012 graduated with student loan debt; the average debt was ,400.

Meanwhile, figures from The College Board showed that in 2013 to 2014, colleges continued to hike tuition costs (though somewhat less than in the past).

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