Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

Federal Loan Consolidation

What is consolidation?
What do I need to do?
Who do I talk to?
If you decide to consolidate
If you decide NOT to consolidate
Frequently Asked Questions

Southwestern is happy to provide you with information that has been gathered regarding Federal Loan Consolidation. For your convenience, all of the consolidation information can be downloaded from this page (please see below). There are also two consolidation informational sessions a year. Contact the Financial Aid Office for more information.

This information was taken from

What is consolidation?

Federal student loan consolidation is a loan you can borrow to combine your existing eligible federal student loans into a single loan. When you apply for a Federal Consolidation Loan, you are taking out a new loan to pay off all or a portion of your original eligible federal student loans. The Federal Consolidation Loan has a fixed interest rate and a repayment term of up to 30 years - depending on the total amount of your student loan debt.

  • FEDERAL LOAN CONSOLIDATION is an option that MAY help you manage repayment of your federal student loans, particularly if you have loans with variable interest rates.

  • Consolidation may NOT be right for you if you only have loans with fixed interest rates.
  • You may be able to save money (monthly amount and overall amount repaid) if you do NOT consolidate your fixed rate loans.

What do I need to do?

  • Gather all your loan information, amount borrowed, lender information and total amount you owe (including undergraduate loans).
  • Make an appointment with a Financial Aid Counselor to talk about whether consolidation is right for you.

Who do I talk to?

  • Appointment with Financial Aid Counselor
    Make an appointment with a Financial Aid Counselor before leave Law School to get personalized information regarding your loans and what your payments options will be with or without consolidation.

    •  You should make your appointment at least 90 days prior to graduation.

If you decide to consolidate

  • Do you have undergraduate loans?
    • If so, make sure you have all the information on those loans.
  • Contact the U.S. Department of Education Direct Loan Consolidation Center at (800) 557-7392 or
  • Complete the consolidation application with the lender (some lenders offer this online).
  • Sign the promissory note.
  • Now you are ready for repayment!

If you decide NOT to consolidate

  • Do you have undergraduate loans?
  • If so, make sure you have all the information on those loans and your law school loans.
  • Keep track of all your loans and how many separate payments you must make each month.
  • Keep in mind you must notify each lender/servicer with any changes or requests.
  • Now you are ready for repayment!

Frequently Asked Questions

What loans can I consolidate?
You can only consolidate FEDERAL loans (including previous consolidation loans)
because it is a FEDERAL loan consolidation program.

When can I consolidate and how long does it take?
You may consolidate any time after you leave school and should allow at least 30 days for processing of your consolidation application.

How do I get a list of all my student loans?

What about forbearance?
You must contact your lender to request forbearance.

Who do I contact if I have more questions?
The Financial Aid Office
Ph: 213.738.6719
Fax: 213.738.6899

Should I consolidate Federal Perkins Loans?

You should consider the following:

  • If you plan on becoming a District Attorney, you should NOT consolidate your Perkins because there are loan cancellation/repayment programs that may be available.  If you consolidate your Perkins you will lose that eligibility FOREVER because that loan will be a consolidation loan not a Perkins loan.
  • Federal Perkins Loans already have a fixed interest rate of 5.0% so nothing is gained in terms of interest rate by consolidating the loans in a fixed rate Federal Consolidation Loan.
  • However you may reduce your consolidation interest rate by including your Perkins. You can also reduce your overall monthly payment.
  • The interest subsidy that is available during periods of deferment on a Federal Perkins Loan is lost if the loan is consolidated.
  • Loan cancellation provisions that are available to Perkins Loan borrowers for certain types of employment/service are lost if the loan is consolidated because those cancellation provisions are not currently available on Federal Consolidation Loans.  Examples of the types of employment/service that might qualify for at least a partial cancellation of a Perkins Loan include: teaching in school serving students from low income families, special education students, infants, toddlers, children or youth with disabilities, in fields of math, science, foreign languages or bilingual education, or other teacher shortage fields; nurse or medical technician; qualifying law enforcement or corrections officer; qualified professional provider of early intervention services; provider of services to high risk children from low-income communities; Peace Corps or ACTION volunteer; and Head Start staff member.

Why should I consolidate my eligible federal student loans?

There are a number of reasons why you may choose to consolidate your eligible federal student loans, including:

  • Lower monthly payments
  • Single-statement billing
  • Fixed interest rates

What are some reasons why I may not want to consolidate my eligible federal student loans?

  • You may pay more interest on the borrowed funds over the life of the loan.
  • Federal Consolidation Loans allow for a longer repayment term. As the repayment term lengthens, the total finance charges paid will increase.
  • You will not be able to take advantage of any further interest rate drops.
  • You may already have a loan with a low, fixed interest rate. Consolidating loans with low, fixed interest rates may increase the total interest you pay over the life of this loan.

I already consolidated my federal student loans. Can I consolidate again?

You can borrow a new Federal Consolidation Loan only if you have at least one eligible federal student loan that was not included in your earlier Federal Consolidation Loan. In other words, you need to have at least one eligible loan that you did not to consolidate in the prior Consolidation Loan, or at least one new eligible federal student loan that you borrowed after the earlier consolidation. In these cases, the prior consolidation loan can be included as one of the loans you are consolidating in the new Federal Consolidation Loan.

If I am still in school, can I consolidate my eligible federal loans through federal student loan consolidation?

It depends on the status of the loan(s). Loans must be in their grace period or in repayment to be eligible for consolidation. As such, Federal Stafford and Federal Direct Loans that have an in-school status cannot be consolidated. However, Federal GradPLUS Loans enter repayment as soon as they are fully disbursed. Although you may be in school and your Grad PLUS Loan may be in an in-school deferment status, it is eligible for consolidation while you are in-school.

Can my federal student loans be consolidated with my spouse's federal student loans?

No. Due to federal regulation changes, spousal consolidation is no longer a consolidation loan option.

What if I'm already in repayment? Should I consider federal student loan debt consolidation?

Even if you are already in repayment, you may want to consider consolidating your eligible federal student loans. Consolidation allows you to fix the interest rate on Federal Stafford and/or Federal Direct Loans borrowed before July 1, 2006. However, consolidation might not benefit borrowers with loans borrowed after July 1, 2006.