It is pretty pathetic how well they really educate the students on what they can do with their loans in order to pay them off or at least protect their credit during the process. Since I once worked for Sallie Mae for about 2 weeks I was able to get the inside scoop for all the different options. This was long enough for me to be trained on the options to use on the phone when calling those with defaulted or soon to be defaulted student loans. Here are your student loan consolidation options and more.First, before we get into consolidation you need to understand what you can do to protect your credit if you cannot pay on your loans or cannot afford the entire payment. You have a few different options in this circumstance and the first is called a deferment. You can use up to 2 years of deferment and you can break it up into 6 month increments if necessary. This will protect your credit and give you time to get your finances in order before you start paying on your loans again.Another option is forbearance and this can be used in 6 month increments as well. This is used for financial hardship and times of unemployment. Along with these two options you can always negotiate a smaller payment to continue paying on your loans without having to pay the full amount or ruining your credit. These are all things to consider instead of defaulting on your loans.Second, when it comes to your student loan consolidation options you need to make sure that the option you choose will give you the full deferment and forbearance options. They many not be willing to negotiate on the payment, but most will and this would be a nice option to have as well. You should make sure that win any of the student loan consolidation options you choose you also get to deal with one well known company and you need to make sure they are not going to sell your loan to someone else.Last, you also want to get a payment that fits your current budget to make life easier on yourself. This should also have an interest rate comparable to what you already have. When you consolidate you will no longer have to manage multiple payments and instead you will have one payment, at one interest rate, with one company to deal with. This makes life much easier for you financially.