Student loan consolidation can provide financial relief to graduates carrying multiple college loans. Graduates can consolidate both federal and private education loans to reduce interest rates and monthly payment amounts.Most people use student loan consolidation to eliminate multiple payments. This can be particularly helpful for medical and law school graduates who often have six or more loans. Upon graduation, students must allocate funds to cover each installment as well as keep track of multiple payment dates. When post graduates submit late payments they are subjected to late fees and run the risk of damaging their credit rating.There are several factors to consider when consolidating college tuition loans. It is a good idea to conduct research or work with a financial consultant to weigh the pros and cons of college loan consolidation. The Internet can be a good source for understanding the intricacies of consolidating loans, as well as to shop and compare lenders.Students with both subsidized and unsubsidized loans will have different needs than graduates carrying one type of financing. Although subsidized and unsubsidized loans can be consolidated, lenders must consolidate the two using two separate loans in order to track payment transactions. However, borrowers will have one monthly payment and lenders contribute appropriate amounts to each account.Graduates must meet lending criteria in order to consolidate federal student loans. Eligibility criteria involves having an adequate FICO score; paying three loan payments in full; being current on all loan payments; and waiting six months from the date of graduation before applying for a consolidation loan.Post graduates with Sallie Mae financing must apply for consolidation loans through a conventional lender. At present, Sallie Mae is no longer participating in the federal loan consolidation program due to legislative cuts made by Congress.Students with Sallie Mae education loans can obtain counseling with a repayment specialist to find out which refinancing options exist. Student loan payment program details are provided at SallieMae.com.When borrowers consolidate education loans they must apply for a new loan to pay off outstanding student loans. Nearly all private and federal loans can be consolidated including: Perkins, Stafford, Direct, Guaranteed, and Health Professional.The U.S. government offers a sponsored student loan consolidation program for graduates who obtained financing through Direct Loans. This program is a good choice for students with bad credit because applicants are not required to undergo credit checks. Program details are provided at LoanConsolidation.ed.gov.Last, but not least, post graduates should research loan consolidation alternatives such as forbearance programs, tuition deferment, and student loan forgiveness. Debt forgiveness programs are available to graduates who hold degrees and obtain employment in public service fields such as education, medical and law. Loan consolidation alternatives are presented at CollegeScholarship.org.