Using Studentloans.gov: You will need to sign in using your personal identifiers and PIN. You have four different “consolidation servicers”: Fed Loan Servicing (PHEAA), Great Lakes, Nelnet and Sallie Mae (now called Navient). (“Joint and several liability” means that both borrowers are fully liable for the full amount of the debt). Not surprisingly, this caused a lot of problems for borrowers and Congress eliminated the program as of July 1, 2006.

These circumstances are: Borrowers cannot consolidate private student loans with the federal consolidation loan programs.

However, if you have private loans, you may want to think about consolidating these loans into a new private consolidation loan.

This means, for example, that a Perkins Loan on its own cannot be consolidated into a Direct Loan.

You may consolidate with Direct Loans during grace periods, once you have entered repayment, or during periods of deferment or forbearance.

This may be a good idea if you want a single monthly payment.

You may also be able to get a better deal if, for example, your credit score is better now than it was when you first took out the private loans.

Borrowers in default may also consolidate in certain circumstances.

Consolidation was previously available to borrowers while they were still in school. Congress also eliminated joint consolidation for spouses, effective July 1, 2006.

The good news is that the Department explains on its web site that if any loan you want to consolidate is still in the grace period, you can delay entering repayment on your new Direct Consolidation Loan until closer to your grace period end date.