If you consolidate your loans now, your new rate will be based on a weighted average of all your loans' interest rates.
So, for a simplified example, if you have two loans, one for $10,000 at 4% interest and one for $5,000 at 6%, your consolidated loan will have a $15,000 balance and a 4.7% interest rate.
Historically, that may have been accurate, since consolidation was often used as a way to lock in a low interest rate on variable-rate loans, says financial aid expert Mark Kantrowitz.
But that hasn't been the case for the past decade, since the government stopped issuing student loans with variable rates.
Instead of making multiple payments to multiple lenders, the borrower only has to pay off the new consolidation loan, says Michelle Pezzulli, vice president of operations for Credit Union Student Choice, a student lending service provider in Washington, D.