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I think the people who will have the biggest problem with this are those who have all of their federal stafford loans (subsidized and unsubsidized) through a single lender. In that case, if a borrower tries to consolidate with another non-governmental lender, the original lender can refuse to allow the consolidation. And why wouldn't they decline, since presumably the reason one would consolidate would be for a lower interest rate and the original lender would be losing money by allowing it. People were getting around this by doing a Federal Direct Consolidation loan, after which they could shop around for non-government lenders with better terms. It's this practice that the rule is limiting.

It sounds like you are probably ok as far as this goes, but you will want to look into consolidating before June when interest rates are set to go up to around 6.5 or 7. I have lauded their site before, but for the best explanations of the consolidation process and its many pitfalls go to

They have some "tutorials" that are very informative, though they are designed with graduate students in mind.

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