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Consolidation loans are available for most federal loans.Consolidation loans provide access to several alternative repayment plans besides the 10-year repayment that is standard for federal loans.
The most popular options include extended repayment, graduated repayment, and income-based repayment.
Choosing to extend your repayment with your consolidation loan can reduce the size of your monthly payment.
If you are having trouble repaying your loans, you should contact your servicer about Income-Based Repayment (IBR) before you enroll in an alternative payment plan that spreads your payments out over a greater period of time.
Loans in the Income-Based Repayment program are eligible for loan forgiveness after 25 years and may be eligible for forgiveness after 10 years if you work in public service.
Add to this the fact that many so-called "consolidation" programs aren't really consolidation loans at all, and debt consolidation, rightfully, has a bad reputation.