How Stafford Loan Consolidation Works

Want to know how Stafford Loan consolidation works? Here is a step-by-step guide that will help you understand process, including what you'll need, how to apply, and next steps.

Before You Begin

Gather all of your current federal loan documentation, including account statements, bills, or loan records. You'll need these to complete your Direct Consolidation Loan application and Master Promissory Note (MPN). Also, make sure you know the benefits of consolidation.


The first step in consolidating your loans is to apply online at To complete section A of the application, you will need to enter your Federal Student Aid PIN, along with personal information like name, address, and your current employer (if applicable).

Section B of the application is the reference section. You will need two references from two different individuals whom you have known for at least three years.

In section C, you will need to provide your debt information. You will be asked to include the loans you wish to consolidate, as well as other outstanding education loans you wish to have considered. Your new repayment period will be based on your total education indebtedness.

The information needed to complete this section can be found through the National Student Loan Data System (

Next you will need to select the repayment plan for your consolidation loan in Section D. There are a variety of plans to choose from, so make sure to select the one that best suits your needs.

Once this is complete, you will review terms and conditions and sign your MPN


After your application is successfully submitted, the loan will be processed. This can take anywhere from 60-90 days and you should continue to make payments during this time. You will receive a letter before the loans are consolidated that provides your new loan information, along with a cancellation deadline, should you decide to cancel the consolidation loan.

For more information on Direct Consolidation Loans, check out the Frequently Asked Questions from the Federal Direct Consolidation Loans Information Center.