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      Federal Perkins Loan Program
A Federal Perkins Loan is a low-interest (5%) loan to help you pay for your education after high school. These loans are for undergraduate and graduate students with exceptional financial need, as determined by your school. Perkins loans are made through your school's financial aid office; your school is your lender. You can borrow up to $3,000 per year for undergraduate study, up to a total of $15,000. For graduate study, you can borrow up to $5,000 per year, up to a maximum of $30,000. The $30,000 includes Perkins loans obtained as an undergraduate.

You may be able to borrow more than those amounts if your school has a default rate no higher than 7.5%. Study abroad for credit can also extend the limits by 20%.

Repayment begins no more than nine months after you graduate or drop to below half-time. You may be allowed up to 10 years to repay. If you skip a payment, if it's late, or if you make less than a full payment, you'll have to pay a late charge plus any collection costs.

You may apply for a deferment (postponement of payments) if you are in an approved graduate fellowship program or a rehabilitation training program for the disabled, unable to find full-time employment, or can show an economic hardship. If your total annual US Department of Education student loan debt is at least 20% of your gross income, you may also qualify for forbearance. If you allow the loan to go into default, you are no longer eligible to apply for deferment.

Perkins loans may also be cancelled under certain conditions, meaning the balance is forgiven. These are conditions for cancellation:
  • Total and permanent disability or death of borrower
  • Full-time teacher in a designated elementary or secondary school serving students from low-income families
  • Full-time special education teacher
  • Full-time qualified professional provider of early intervention services for the disabled
  • Full-time teacher of math, science, foreign languages, bilingual education, or in other fields designated as teacher shortage areas
  • Full-time employee of a public or nonprofit child or family services agency, providing services to high-risk children and their families from low-income communities
  • Full-time nurse or medical technician
  • Full-time law enforcement or corrections officer
  • Full-time staff member in a Head Start program
  • Combat service in the Armed Forces (up to 50% of loan balance)
  • Service as a Peace Corps or VISTA volunteer (up to 70% of balance)
  • Bankruptcy (if 7 years have passed since the date the loan came due)

Official Federal Student Aid Information Center

Call our toll free numbers:

Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC)
1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243)

TTY users (for the hearing-impaired) can call:

Callers in locations without access to 800 numbers may call
1-319-337-5665 (this is not a toll free number)


  FASTaiD 1998 CEE       All rights reserved. Do not copy or redistribute in any form.         Mail: Editor