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how does consolidating student loans affect my credit score (applying for mortgage)
Next month I want to apply for a mortgage, but my broker said they need to use 2% of my student loan balance to calculate my payment amount (they are currently deferred as I am still an active student). With $65,000 in loans, this comes out to $1300. Which is not practical. When I do the consolidation process online, my options are for about $350-400. I am nervous about messing with my credit score at all because it is "Excellent" right now. Is it worth consolidating my loans right now? What are your thoughts on these factors?

1. 11 loans over the past 7 years, I can consolidate all but the oldest one or two and therefore increase my average age of debt. Of course this average factors in the new consolidated loan age. This is good thing, right?
2. New hard inquiry will hurt my score, though. Correct?

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