I'll try to keep this concise..
Undergraduate loans consolidated in 2010 =$44k
New Master's Degree completed in 2019 -(in grace period and Covid 19 forbearance until 1/22/22) - Has NOT consolidated these graduate degree loans yet!
My friend has been in Public Service the entire time 2010 THROUGH still currently in public service.
Should my friend consolidate ALL of the loans before 1/22/22 OR should he just apply for PSLF for the undergraduate loans that were consolidated back in 2010? If he just applies with these loans, he will have been paying qualified payments for 8 years.
My fear is that if he tries to consolidate the NEW graduate loans, this will start his time of qualifying payments back to Zero...???
Advice...should he just apply now for the undergraduate consolidated loans for PSLF?
Your fear is correct - each loan is treated individually, and consolidation creates a new loan that eliminates the old loan.
So, your friend should simply fill out the PSLF certification forms. The old undergraduate loans are probably at the 120 payment mark (because Covid-19 forbearance counts to the PSLF payment count). Those loans will be wiped away.
Then the Master Degree loans will simply have their own PSLF count, and there's probably no reason to consolidate these loans anyway (why would you)?
The only caveat is repayment plan. Remember, PSLF requires:
1. Direct Loans
2. income-driven Repayment Plan
3. Certify your Employment
4. Do the above 3 things for 120 payments