College students will use a variety of different student loans to pay for their education. Each of these lenders had different requirements when they loaned you the money. Some lenders, like the federal government, issued the loan in your name; no co-signers were required. Other lenders, like the banks, would only loan you money if your parents co-signed the loan. The banks were not willing to take a risk on your shaky financial status, but they would issue a loan if your parents agreed to take on some of that risk for you, so both students and their parents are eligible for student loan consolidation.
Many student loans do not require repayment until after you graduate from college. This means that you will have to wait until graduation to begin the consolidating process. In fact, most consolidation companies will not even begin to discuss the process with you until all your loans have been completely disbursed. This does work to your advantage. You get one chance to consolidate your loans, so you want to have a complete picture of all your education-related expenses.
It does not matter whether you are a student or parent borrower. Federal and private student loans will have to be consolidated separately. Since private student loans are not subsidized by the federal government, they follow completely different guidelines, and have different terms and conditions, so the process and eligibility requirements for consolidating these loans differ, too.
Parents and students will not be able to consolidate their loans together. The federal government issues certain loans in the name of the student and certain loans, like PLUS, in the name of the parent. A student will need to consolidate their federal loans separately from their parents’ federal loans. You are only able to consolidate the loans that are in your name.
Private student loans operate a little differently. Many students will have asked their parents to co-sign these loans. You should be able to consolidate these loans as long as you are the primary borrower and the co-signer is the same. At some point, your parents are probably going to tell you that you are completely responsible for the loan. Consolidating your private student loans will allow you to drop your co-signers. However, you will have to prove that you can make the payments on your own.
Perhaps you decided that college was not for you, or life’s circumstances prevented you from graduating. You are still responsible for paying back your student loans, even though you ended up not completing school. You and your parents can also go through the student loan consolidation process to help you pay off your debt.