Guiding You Through a Perkins Loan Application
During the 2011-2012 school year, 75 to 85 percent of new students attending 4-year schools full-time as an undergraduate and 79 percent of those attending 2-year schools were using some form of financial aid, per the National Center for Education Statistics. The U.S. Department of Education expected to render 493,244 Perkins Loans to needy students in 2011, with each averaging about $1,968.
The Application Process
The Perkins Loan does not have a separate application; rather, applicants fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which you can complete and turn in online like the more than 98 percent of other applicants who submit it every year, per U.S. News. Of course, mailing your application is always an option.
You’ll need a FSA ID to submit your FAFSA. If you don’t have one yet, you can request one on the FAFSA website. You will use your FSA ID throughout your college years to resubmit and adjust your financial aid application from year to year.
When completing your FAFSA, you’re going to need to determine your dependency status — that is, whether you’re independent from your parents or not. The Coalition of Higher Education Assistance Organizations reports that 66 percent of recipients of the Perkins Loan for the 2009-2010 school year were dependents, while 21 percent were independent, and 13 percent were graduate students.
Moving forward, you’ll need the identification numbers for all universities and colleges you’re interested in or have applied to. The schools can provide you with these numbers, or you can look them up on the FAFSA site. It is wise to file your annual tax return prior to completing your FAFSA so you can input exact numbers instead of estimating. This will assist in determining your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Approximate numbers are a good guideline, but they won’t produce definite award amounts for you. Last but not least, you have to sign your FAFSA and click submit (or mail it in). You’ll enter your FSA ID at this step as part of your electronic signature.
Eligibility and Forgiveness
Applicants for the Perkins Loan must meet eligibility requirements, which include income thresholds and requirement that the student be enrolled at a school that accepts Perkins Loans. Forgiveness of Perkins Loans is available to select groups of individuals on both a partial and full basis, including:
- Educators in low-income school regions
- Members of law enforcement
- Volunteers of the Peace Corps
- Some librarians
One of the biggest benefits of the Perkins Loan is the extended grace period that comes with it. While most students will have to begin making student loan payments six months after they graduate, withdraw, or drop below half-time enrollment, Perkins Loans recipients get nine months free of payments to get their career and life squared away. Furthermore, during the 10-year repayment period for a Perkins Loan, your payment amount will stay the same, because the 5 percent fixed interest rate never wavers.
Undergraduates can borrow up to $27,500 and graduates up to $60,000 under the Perkins Loan program. If you’ve exhausted superior options and the Perkins Loan seems like the best choice for you now, we can help you. From information on which schools distribute these loans to judging your likelihood of receiving one, we provide the tools and know-how to set you up for a stress-free academic experience.