The federal government offers the Perkins Loan for students with exceptional financial need. The loan guarantees low interest rates for both undergraduate and graduate students.
You must be enrolled at least part-time to remain eligible for funding. To apply for a Perkins loan, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine your financial need. Unlike most other loans, the Perkins uses your school as the lender. Over 1,800 schools in the country participate in this program.
Interest rates for the Perkins loan are fixed at 5%, which is much lower than most private student loans. Undergraduate students may borrow up to $5,500 each year, which may not exceed $27,500 over the course of your degree. Graduate and professional students may borrow up to $8,000 per year, with a maximum of $60,000. However, that total also includes any Perkins loans you borrowed during your time as an undergraduate student.
One of the best parts about the Perkins loan is that it is subsidized, meaning the federal government pays the interest while you are enrolled in school. Additionally, you have a nine-month grace period upon leaving school before you have to begin repaying the loan, compared to just a six-month grace period with most other federal loans. The Perkins loan also allows for a more liberal loan cancellation policy compared to other federal loans. If you work in certain public service fields, such as a teacher, firefighter, law enforcement officer, or nurse, you can have up to 100% of your loan cancelled.
Because of these generous terms, accepting a Perkins loan is an excellent way to finance your post-secondary education.
Check out Credible for more information on financing your college education.