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That’s because it’s based on the interest rates of the loans you’ll be consolidating.

There are two main ways to do this: through Uncle Sam or a private lender.Federal consolidation loans are for — you guessed it — federal student loans.You can consolidate almost any federal student loan using the Direct Consolidation Loan program.However, you cannot include any loans from private lenders, and you cannot include any PLUS loans borrowed by your parents on your behalf.Their average debt load was ,600, up 24% in a decade, according to The College Board.

Throw private school grads into the mix, and the average American owes ,000 in student loans, according to Equifax. With 5 billion dollars worth of private student loans outstanding, there is a whole lot of suffering out there among former students struggling with their loans.While it's possible to consolidate federal college debt, consolidating private college debt has been just about impossible.It’s important to remember that these numbers are averages — some students manage to earn their degrees with far less debt. But wherever you are on the spectrum, being an informed borrower can help you stay organized, figure out the best way to pay back your debt, and maintain a reasonable lifestyle while you’re doing it.Student loan consolidation is one possible way to help you do that — but only if you’re realistic about its benefits and limitations.There’s also the possibility that you could secure a lower or fixed rate on your student loan debt.