Spousal consolidation used to be allowed but the law allowing it was repealed for some very good reasons which we sometimes call the "5 Ds" of Spousal Consolidation. These 5 are...
Deferment, Disability, Death, Divorce... DON'T
Essentially, in a spousal consolidation, both partners take responsibility for the full amount of each persons' loans. So, you own all your loans PLUS his and he, in turn, owns all of his loans PLUS yours. Both loans are now in both persons' names (and on both credit reports). This means that, in order to qualify for a benefit (deferment, loan forgiveness, etc.) you both have to be eligible for the benefit before it can be granted. To elaborate:
-- In-School Deferment: A borrower is normally eligible for in-school deferment any time s/he goes back to school at least half-time. But, if your consolidate your loans with your husband's, your loans are only eligible for deferment if he, too, returns to school!
-- Economic Hardship Deferment: Normally, if you as a solo borrower ever had trouble repaying your student loan debt, you can get your loans deferred by showing your lender that your payments exceed a certain percentage of your income. However, if you consolidate your loans with your husband's, you would BOTH need to qualify for this deferment.
-- Unemployment Deferment: Normally, if you lost your job and couldn't handle the monthly loan payments, you would be eligible for this deferment; however, if your loans are consolidated together, he would probably have to lose his job, too, before you qualify.
Disability: This is a big one. Loans in your name can be forgiven (i.e. written off, canceled) if you become totally and permanently disabled. But, since Spousal Consolidation loans would be in BOTH of your names, both borrowers (you and your husband) would have to become disabled in order to qualify. If you alone became disabled, he would be 100?esponsible for repaying your debt.
Death: Same thing as disability. If a borrower dies, his/her loans are canceled. But if those loans are consolidated with a spouse's, they are sort of "co-owned" and therefore they become the burden of the surviving spouse. Not a very nice legacy.
Divorce: IF this ever happened to you, what a huge mess it would be! Since you can't unconsolidate, you would be stuck, (even in divorce/separation) with this jointly-owned debt. Even if, in the divorce settlement, you made plans for one of you to take charge of the debt, you would still be at that person's mercy when it comes to repayment. If they didn't pay, the default would appear on your credit report.
Now, you are welcome to consolidate your loans on your own. Federal Consolidation Loan interest rates are set by the federal government based on the current rates. At present, the Stafford Loan interest rate is fixed at 6.8?Perkins loans are at 5?nd have been for a looong time. If you are consolidating a variety of loans, the rate you receive will be a *weighted average* of all your loans' rates: so, if you have twice as much Stafford debt as Perkins debt, the rate would be somewhere in between 6.8?nd 5?ut more weighted towards the Stafford Loan rate.
The only difference that you'll really see in interest rates will come from the various incentives ("borrower benefits") that different lenders will inevitably offer you in order to get you to consolidate with them. Sallie Mae is the largest consolidation lender that exists today. Citibank is the #2 lender -- also a fine choice. Nelnet is pretty good, too. All three have been around for a while and have made a name for themselves. When choosing a consolidation lender, benefits are important, yes, but it's also important to select a lender that's been around a while and has proven itself in the market. If you pick a "no-name" lender because their benefits sound good, make sure you ask yourself (and them), "What happens if you go out of business and my loan gets sold to another lender? THEN what happens to my benefit?"
You can get a list of popular lenders here: http://www.finaid.org/loans/biglenders.phtml
And see some companies' consolidation benefits here: http://www.finaid.org/loans/consolidationloandiscounts.phtml
And you can read about spousal consolidation here: http://www.finaid.org/loans/consolidation.phtml
(scroll down to "Who Can Consolidate")