Federal Perkins Loans

Federal Perkins Student Loans are a low interest loan for both undergraduate and graduate students with exceptional financial need. Your college serves as the lender.

Application form

Apply for financial aid using the FAFSA.

Residency and Citizenship

You must be a citizen of the United States or have been admitted into the United States as a permanent resident, refugee or asylee.

Award Amounts

Funding available to lend to students is limited to a set amount of money provided by the federal government, a share contributed by the college and the repayment of Perkins Loan funds by prior borrowers.

Qualifying programs and credits

You must be accepted for admission to a degree-seeking program. You must register for at least six equated credits.

Pursuit and Progress

You must be in good academic standing and make satisfactory progress towards completing a degree

Interest Rate and Repayment

The interest rate is 5%. Perkins Loan borrowers are eligible to defer the repayment of the loan principal, with no interest charged while enrolled for classes as at least a half-time student. It is a subsidized loan, with interest being paid by the federal government during the in-school and 9 month grace periods. Repayment begins nine months after dropping below half-time enrollment. Repayment can take a maximum of ten years.

Additional information on Perkins Loans:

  • You must sign a promissory note
  • You may not be in default on a previous federal student loan or owe the federal government a refund of financial aid previously received
  • You must be willing to verify the information you provide on the FAFSA
  • If you are receiving a federal student loan you must complete an entrance interview to know your rights and responsibilities as a borrower
  • When leaving college, either as a graduate or otherwise, if you have borrowed funds from the federal government you must attend an exit interview held on your campus
  • If you are male between 18 and 25 years of age you must register with Selective Service
  • You may not possess or sell illegal drugs
  • Attend a Perkins Loan Default Reduction session held on your campus

Frequently Asked Questions

When do I have to begin repayment?

If you're attending school at least half time (6 credits) you have a period of time after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half time status before you must begin repayment also known as a grace period. The grace period for a Federal Perkins loan is nine months. If you're attending less than half-time, check with your financial aid office to determine your grace period. Your lender will send you information about repayment, and you'll be notified of the date repayment begins. However, you're responsible for the beginning repayment in time, even if you don't receive this information. Failing to make payments on your loan can lead to default.

Who do I repay?

You'll make payments to the school that made you the loan or their designated collection agency.

How long do I have to repay my loan?

You'll have up to 10 years to repay your loan.

What if I need longer than 10 years for repayment? You can apply for consolidation that can give you up to 30 years, depending on the amount you have borrowed.

What if I'm on active duty with the military?

Those on active duty with the military might have longer grace periods than those mentioned here and will have additional options to postpone repayment. Contact the holder of the loan for more information.

How much will I have to repay and how often?

Usually you'll pay monthly. Your repayment amount will depend on the size of your debt and the length of your repayment period. If you have a Direct Stafford Loan, the amount you'll pay also depends on the repayment plan you choose. Federal Perkins Loans do not have different repayment plans.

If I take a leave of absence, do I have to start repaying my loans?

Not immediately. When you take a leave of absence you will not have to repay your loan until the grace period is used up. If you use up the grace period, however, when you graduate you will have to begin repaying your loan immediately. It is possible to request an extension to the grace period, but this must be done before the grace period is used up. If your grace period has run out in the middle of your leave of absence, you will have to start making payments on your student loans.

Are my parents responsible for my educational loans?

No. Parents will only be responsible for your educational loans if you are under 18 and they co-sign your loan. In general you and you alone are responsible for repaying your educational loans. On the other hand, if your parents (or grandparents) want to help pay off your loan, you can have your billing statements sent to their address. Likewise, if your lender or loan servicer provides an electronic payment service, where the monthly payments are automatically deducted from a bank account, your parents can agree to have the payments deducted from their account. But your parents are under no obligation to repay your loans. If they forget to pay the bill on time or decide to cancel the electronic payment agreement, you will be held responsible for the payments, not them.