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After years of avoiding payment via forebearances and deferrments and coming very close to defaulting on a single obscure loan, I finally had all of my student loans consolidated into one by Sallie Mae. You make one payment on the lump sum as opposed to paying out one loan at a time.
I consolidated about 2 years ago and it reduced the payments significantly and I got a better interest rate. Then they lowered the interest rate after 1 year of paying the bills on time.
I wish I would have waited because the rates are extremely low now. I would compare the interest rate offered by these companies with the rate that the government would give you. You may get a beter rate from the US Dept of Education than one of these firms. You can even consolidate online and you have no payments while they are doing the consolidating paperwork (about 2 months).
We consolidated mine a bit ago through Salliemae and got a much lower rate, but you can only do it once, and i was sad that i didn't wait, because it is much much lower since then. if you've got a healthy balance, i would definitely investigate. rob's sister just did hers a little while ago.
Mike is right. Check the numbers closely. I just examined one offer to consolidate my three loans, two at 4.5% and one at 4.75%. The interest rate they offered was rounded to the next 0.125% above the wieghted average rate of the three - which would have me paying 4.625% on a consolidated loan. The monthly payment was lower, but I would pay more in the end, even taking advantage of the discount for electronic payment.