Student loan consolidation can be a great option if you’re looking to simplify and lower your monthly payments, but there are other factors to consider, so be sure to do your homework.

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If so—and you don’t qualify or need the income-driven repayment options or loan forgiveness—consider consolidating privately so you can take advantage of potentially lower interest rates.

Katie Taylor is a content writer and editor with expertise in law and policy, finance, and entrepreneurship.

At one time, there was no option to refinance public federal loans (although you could always refinance private loans).

Today, there’s a tremendous opportunity to refinance federal loans at a lower interest rate.

According to the Institute for College Access & Success, 69 percent of seniors who graduated from public and nonprofit colleges in 2014 had student loan debt — to the tune of an average of $28,950.

While you can’t outrun your student loan debt, you do have options for getting it under control. With a loan consolidation, a lender pays off your various student loans and gives you a new, single loan, often at a lower interest rate. Private loans can only be consolidated through a credit union or bank.

Usually, you also end up with a lower interest rate or with a payment plan that allows you to make smaller monthly payments over a longer period of time.

If you have a high interest rate or burdensome monthly payment, refinancing can help.

Student loan refinancing companies look at different factors when considering whether a person is a good candidate and when determining what interest rate to offer.

Your credit score plays a big role when a commercial bank is judging your creditworthiness – however, it matters less with refinancing companies.

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