There seems to be a great deal of talk about government bailouts these days. Every time you hear new financial news it seems that some company or group of companies are asking the government for help to get them out of a financial mess. But what about the individual? Are there any government-sponsored bailout programs out there to help the average U.S. citizen when he runs into financial problems? Do government debt consolidation programs exist?Generally speaking, there simply aren’t many government-sponsored programs to help the average citizen who is having problems managing their growing debts. When speaking of debt consolidation programs, many people immediately think of loans which are arranged as a means to bring several outstanding loan balances together into a single debt. While such consolidation loans may be available, other repayment programs work by an agency or intermediary acting on behalf of the borrower to negotiate more favorable loan terms with their lenders. Most often these are not directly sponsored by the government. There is one area, however, where government debt consolidation programs may be able to help: student loans.In the United States, federal student loans are guaranteed by the U.S. government, and therefore are treated differently than other sorts of consumer loans. If you’re looking for government debt consolidation of your federally guaranteed student loans, you can look into one of the many student loan consolidation programs available. Under such plans, your existing student loans may be purchased and closed by a special student loan consolidator, or by the U.S. Department of Education.Before you consider a government debt consolidation agreement, make certain you understand that student loan consolidation should not require the payment of any fees by the borrower. This is decidedly different than private lending arrangements where the borrower is usually required to pay fees at the time of the loan’s closing. In the case of private lending, whether it be unsecured or secured using a tangible asset such as your home as collateral, there are almost always fees that must be paid at the time the loan is assigned. In some cases, these fees will be rolled into the new loan agreement and won’t require out of pocket payment. In the case of government debt consolidation of students loans, no such fees are required nor would they be rolled into the new consolidated loan.Government debt consolidation of student loans is beneficial to the borrower by helping to protect their credit rating. However, it should be noted that not all federal student loan holders report their account to all the credit bureaus, so there may be no material impact on the borrower’s report or rating.So if you happen to be carrying a number of student loans and you’re looking to the government to help, make sure you investigate the possibility of government debt consolidation through a student loan refinancing program. In the long run you may find that turning to the provisions provided by the federal student loan program may work in your favor.