Program DescriptionFederal Perkins Loans help financially needy undergraduate and graduate students meet the cost of postsecondary education. The award is made by the school based on the availability of funds. A Federal Perkins Loan carries a fixed interest rate and must be repaid beginning after a nine-month grace period following the date when the student is no longer enrolled on at least a half-time basis.
Institutional financial aid administrators at participating institutions have substantial flexibility in determining the amount of Perkins loans to award to students who are enrolled or accepted for enrollment. Borrowers who undertake certain public, military, or teaching service employment are eligible to have all or part of their loans canceled.
General Program Requirements
You may be eligible for a Perkins Loan if you are
- an undergraduate, graduate, or professional student with exceptional financial need;
- enrolled full-time or part-time; and
- attending a school that participates in the Federal Perkins Loan Program.
Loan TermsMaximum Loan Amounts: Undergraduate - up to $5,500 a year (maximum of $27,500 as an undergraduate)
Graduate - up to $8,000 a year (maximum of $60,000, including undergraduate loans)
Amount actually received depends on financial need, amount of other aid, and availability of funds at school
Interest Rate: Fixed at five percent
Maximum Loan Length: Perkins Loan repayment plan options differ from Direct Loan Program or FFEL Program loans. Check with your school for more information on Perkins loans repayment.
Frequency of Payments: Monthly or quarterly. After you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment, you have a nine-month grace period before you begin repayment. Those in the military might have longer.
Prepayment penalties: None
Your Next StepsThe following information will lead you to the next steps to apply for this program.
Application ProcessTo apply for Perkins Loans, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online (the faster and easier way), or you can get a paper FAFSA from your high school, local library, postsecondary school, or by calling the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243). TTY users for the hearing impaired can call 1-800-730-8913.
If you applied for Federal student aid for the previous school year, you can probably file a Renewal FAFSA for the next year. By using a Renewal FAFSA, you will only have to update any information that has changed and fill in a few new answers.
Program Contact Information
For general information about Federal student aid programs, assistance in completing the FAFSA, and information about FAFSA on the Web, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at the following toll-free number:
TTY users for the hearing impaired can call:
Callers in locations without access to 800 numbers may call this non toll-free number: