The good news is that the Department explains on its web site that if any loan you want to consolidate is still in the grace period, you can delay entering repayment on your new Direct Consolidation Loan until closer to your grace period end date.
You can indicate this when you apply, and the consolidation servicer will wait to process your application until the appropriate time.
Another common problem is that partial discharge of a joint consolidation loan under any of the discharge programs (other than death discharge) does not eliminate joint liability for the remaining balance.
Although all of these different loans may be consolidated, you must have at least one outstanding FFEL or Direct Loan to obtain a Direct Consolidation Loan.
This means, for example, that a Perkins Loan on its own cannot be consolidated into a Direct Loan.
You may consolidate with Direct Loans during grace periods, once you have entered repayment, or during periods of deferment or forbearance.
You can consolidate all, just some, or even just one of your student loans.
Consolidating federal student loans may be a good strategy to lower monthly payments or to get out of default, but it is not always a good idea.
Consolidation loan borrowers should not be charged origination fees.