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Parent PLUS loans are excluded from most benefits provided by the federal government, but if you consolidate these loans, you’ll become eligible for income-contingent repayment and Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

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It’s important to find out if consolidation is best for you.

For example, if you only have a Federal Family Education Loan or Perkins Loan, that means you’re not eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness — but if you consolidate it into a Direct Consolidation Loan, you are.

If you don’t want to make three voluntary payments, you can still consolidate your loans if you agree to enter into an income-driven repayment plan. To rehabilitate a federal student loan, you and the Department of Education must reach an agreement on a “reasonable and affordable” repayment plan in which you’ll have to make nine out of 10 on-time payments.

Any garnished wages, tax returns or social security earnings will not count toward these payments.

Private student loans and Perkins loans operate under different rules, and for more information on getting out of default, you should reach out to your servicer or the school you attended.

Another way to get out of default on a federal student loan is to consolidate it.

The first three false certification categories: Ability to Benefit, Disqualifying Status and Forgery apply only to FFEL and Direct loans received at least in part on or after January 1, 1986.

The fourth category, identity theft, is available if the false certification occurred as a result of a crime of identity theft.” For more information on these potential situations, you should visit the National Consumer Law Center website.

Unfortunately, in order to be eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness on your Federal Direct student loans, you have to be enrolled in an eligible repayment plan and consistently making on-time payments.

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