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How to Consolidate AidVantage Student Loans

Consolidation of AidVantage loans may be a smart move in your quest to eliminate student debt. Learn how it works and the mistakes to avoid.

Written By: Michael P. Lux, Esq.

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Affiliate Disclosure and Integrity Pledge

Temporary Forgiveness Clock Rule: The Department of Education is conducting a one-time update of IDR payment counts. Borrowers who consolidate their federal loans before June 30, 2024, can maximize progress toward PSLF and IDR forgiveness.

If you’re not happy with your current repayment plan, interest rates, or the customer service from AidVantage and can’t afford to pay off your loan, consolidating your student loans might be the solution.

Consolidation is quite straightforward: it replaces your old loans with a new one. You can consolidate just some or all of your loans.

After consolidation, your old loans are considered paid off, and you start repaying a new loan, ideally with better terms.

For AidVantage loans, you have two consolidation options: federal and private. Federal consolidation is done through the Department of Education, while private consolidation, often called refinancing, is through a private lender. These two options have major differences, so it’s crucial to choose wisely. Once you consolidate, you can’t reverse the process, so any decision you make is final.

Sherpa Note: This article originally covered Navient student loan consolidation. When Navient changed its name to AidVantage, this article was updated to reflect the new name.

Federal Direct Consolidation

The main benefit of federal loan consolidation is that you keep all the federal loan benefits, such as income-driven repayment plans and student loan forgiveness. Plus, anyone can consolidate their federal loans without needing to meet credit or income criteria.

Consolidate AidVantage Student Loans, Student has books to pay for

The downside is that consolidating your federal loans doesn’t lower your interest rate. It just groups your loans. The goal behind a federal consolidation is to gain eligibility for preferred federal programs.

The danger is that federal loan consolidation might not be the best move for everyone. Mixing certain federal loans could disqualify you from the best repayment options. It’s important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages before proceeding.

Finally, you can only consolidate federal student loans into a federal loan consolidation. If you hope to convert your private loans into federal loans to get on IBR or qualify for student loan forgiveness, you are out of luck. Absent an act of Congress, this financial move is not possible.

Private Consolidation aka Student Loan Refinancing

When you explore the market for refinancing lenders, you’ll find many lenders advertising lower interest rates. Lowering your interest rates can reduce your monthly payments and help you pay off your loan sooner.

All types of loans, including federal ones, can be refinanced into private loans. However, if you’re considering refinancing your federal loans into a private loan, be cautious. While refinancing at lower interest rates can save you money, you’ll lose the benefits that come with federal loans, which is an important factor to consider.

If you decide to refinance, you’ll need a good credit score and a stable income. Since requirements and offers vary by lender, it’s wise to compare options from different companies.

Splash FinancialSplash is extremely focused on interest rates. They consistently have the lowest rates in numerous loan categories. Read more...
ELFIELFI is a traditional bank with a major focus on quality customer service. Getting approved is hard for some borrowers, but those that do get approved receive excellent interest rates. Read more...
SoFiSoFi is the biggest name in the student loan refinance space. They consistently offer excellent rates with high approval numbers. Read more...
EarnestEarnest attempts to look at the big picture for borrowers. The application requires a bit more information, but it doesn't take long to complete, and could result in an approval where other lenders might reject. Read more...
LendKeyLendKey partners with smaller banks and credit unions across the country. This approach results in higher approval numbers and competitive loan terms. Read more...

One thing many people forget about credit scores is that shopping around doesn’t hurt your credit score. As a result, it pays to apply at several places to find the best rate.

How To Start the Consolidation Process on AidVantage Loans

Given the enormous differences between private refinancing and federal consolidation, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that starting each process is dramatically different.

Because the process is identical regardless of loan servicer, AidVantage borrowers will have the same consolidation process as MOHELA, Nelnet, and others. Additionally, AidVantage has no ability or authority to stand in the way of either process.

Consolidation applicant holds application form on tablet

Federal Direct Consolidation – The Department of Education handles all federal student loan consolidation requests. Borrowers can start the consolidation by applying through this portal from the Department of Education. Completing the application usually takes less than half an hour. However, the full process takes several weeks or even months before the Department of Education finalizes everything.

Refinancing with a Private Lender – To refinance with a private lender, a borrower must pass a credit check to get approved. I usually recommend shopping around to get the lowest interest rate. This adds a bit of extra time to the process but can result in significant savings. Our student loan refinance company list has links to the various lender application forms. The entire private refinance process can be done in as little as a week from start to finish.

Consolidating AidVantage Loans

Just because you can’t pay off your AidVantage loan tomorrow or next week doesn’t mean you are stuck with the same loan and the same terms for years to come. Student loan consolidation offers ways to get lower payments, lower interest rates, change servicers, and pay off your loan faster.

About the Author

Student loan expert Michael Lux is a licensed attorney and the founder of The Student Loan Sherpa. He has helped borrowers navigate life with student debt since 2013.

Insight from Michael has been featured in US News & World Report, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and numerous other online and print publications.

Michael is available for speaking engagements and to respond to press inquiries.

3 thoughts on “How to Consolidate AidVantage Student Loans”

  1. A lower interest rate is very tempting, however consolidation muddies the water somewhat. Consolidation, particularly undergrad and graduate loans seems to bury all details.


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