Federal Perkins Loan Program Overview

The Federal Perkins loan program is the oldest federal loan program and was established in 1957.  It is a campus-based program which serves students with financial need.  Institutions originate loans to their students and are responsible for servicing the loans throughout the repayment term.  The Perkins Loan Program is a revolving loan program where the dollars collected from former students are utilized to make new loans to current students.

Perkins Loans provide critical support to students with economic need, offering low-cost loans with flexible repayment terms and generous forgiveness (cancellation) options that are public-service oriented.  In 2013-2014, close to 500,000 students with need were awarded nearly $1 billion in Perkins loans.  This funding is critical to students who may not qualify for any other financing options, including more costly private loans, and therefore would be unable to complete their education.

Throughout the history of the Perkins Loan Program, $7.9 billion in federal contributions have been leveraged with contributions from colleges and universities to generate more than $36 billion in funding for low-cost student loans.  To date, more than 30 million students with need have benefited from Perkins Loans.

For a detailed description of the Perkins Loan Program, please refer to the Federal Student Aid Handbook – Volume 6.