Perkins loans, or loans made through the Federal Perkins Loan Program, are low-interest federal loans for students with what is considered exceptional financial need.
Undergraduate, graduate, and professional students are eligible for a Perkins loan, given they have need, attend a school that participates in the program, and attend school at least half-time.
Undergraduate students can receive up to $5,500 per year, and $27,500 total. Graduate and professional students can borrow up to $8,000 per year. The total amount a graduate student can borrow is $60,000, including undergraduate Perkins loans.
Exceptional financial need is calculated based on the cost of attendance at a particular institution, minus a student’s expected financial contribution. The amount students will receive in loans is dependent upon need and the availability of funds through a student’s school.
Perkins loans don’t have to be repaid until nine months after a student graduates, leaves school, or stops attending at least half-time. While there are no additional costs associated with the Perkins loans, students could face charges immediately if they miss a payment, make a late payment, or pay less than the repayment amount.
The first step in any financial aid application process should be filling out the Free Application for Federal Financial Aid, commonly referred to as the FAFSA.