If I pay now can I consolidate later? I'd like to pay it down but keep the 2.3% interest.
Paying your loans down a bit has no effect on your ability to consolidate them later. BUT, many people do lose their low interest rates when they consolidate, because if I'm not mistaken, they take the average of your APRs & that becomes your new APR for your consolidated loan.
How do you lose your APRs if you're locked in at a single number?
Because they're not individual loans anymore once you consolidate; it's just one. They're not going to just give you the lowest APR you had before. Like I said, I may be wrong, but I believe they take the average of whatever your APRs were before & that becomes your new APR. If you are lucky enough to have all of your loans at the same APR, then I guess it wouldn't matter, but that's probably not the case for most people.
The consolidation APR is a weighted average of the APRs on your existing loans. I had a range of 3.4% to 6.8% before consolidation and ended up with 5.6% as my interested rate.