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Consolidation loans have no such window, and generally require repayment starting about two months after the loan is approved.

In other words, if you just graduated and apply for a consolidation loan, you need to be prepared to start making payments much sooner.

However, it’s important to realize that there are some hardship options (deferment and forbearance) that aren’t likely to be offered by a private lender.

These allow you to postpone payments if you fall on hard times financially, so if you don’t have a rock-solid source of income, you may want to think twice before losing this option.

Even if you decide to consolidate your loans through a federal direct consolidation loan, it’s important to realize that any progress you’ve made towards public service loan forgiveness (PSLF) will cause the 10-year clock to re-start.

If you apply for a consolidation loan with a private lender, your new interest rate will be based on factors such as your credit history, repayment term length, and your lender's currently-available interest rates.

When you consolidate your loans, your loan repayment term starts again, or could get even longer.

Simply click here to discover how to learn more about these strategies.To reiterate, there are certainly some advantages to consolidating or refinancing your student loans.However, if any of these situations discussed here apply to you, you might want to think twice.Offer from the Motley Fool: The ,728 Social Security bonus most retirees completely overlook If you're like most Americans, you're a few years (or more) behind on your retirement savings.But a handful of little-known "Social Security secrets" could help ensure a boost in your retirement income.

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