Consolidating federal student loan debt
The fixed interest rate is calculated as the weighted average of the interest rates of the loans being consolidated, assigning relative weights according to the amounts borrowed, rounded up to the nearest 0.125%, and capped at 8.25%.
In 1998, the United States Congress changed the interest rate to the aforementioned fixed rate weighted mean, effective February 1, 1999.
Unlike the other loans, consolidation loans have a fixed interest rate for the life of the loan.
Consolidation loans have longer terms than other loans. Although the monthly repayments are lower, the total amount paid over the term of the loan is higher than would be paid with other loans.
Consolidation loans taken out before that date had a variable interest rate, determined by the individual FDLP loan origination center (e.g., in the case of a university, that university) or FFELP lender (e.g., a third party bank).
In 2005, the Government Accountability Office considered consolidating consolidation loans so that they were exclusively managed through the FDLP.
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However, the interest rate is fixed for the life of the loan.