FAFSA Break Down: Perkins Loans

In your collegiate quest for financial aid, you will find that there are several different loans and grants you can receive after filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). If you are in dire financial need, you may be eligible for a Perkins Loan. How is this particular loan different from other student loans? Let’s break it down.

Who: Perkins Loans are available to full-time and part-time graduate and undergraduate students. Usually recipients of Perkins Loans have a greater need for financial assistance than recipients of Stafford Loans.

What: Perkins Loans are fixed rate loans based on student need. The fixed interest rate on these loans is 5%. Perkins Loans are subsidized loans, which means the student does not pay interest while enrolled in school.

Unlike Stafford Loans, students have a grace period of 9 months after graduation or withdrawal to begin repayment. After repayment begins, the student has 10 years to pay back the entire loan to their college or university. Note: Perkins Loan recipients repay their loan directly to their school.

Where: There are about 1,700 schools that have access to Perkins funds. Some colleges and universities can offer more aid to students than others, so check with each institution to see what their limits may be. (Keep in mind that if you transfer to another school, your funding may change.)

How: To receive a Perkins Loan, students must fill out the FAFSA.

With Perkins Loans, the student’s school combines federal funding with its own funds to pay the student directly – either in the form of a check or by depositing money into a student account – twice per academic year. The school must notify the student in writing when this deposit occurs.

If you aren’t sure whether or not you qualify for a Perkins Loan, fill out the FAFSA and an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will be calculated for you. This measures the amount you and/or your family will be able to provide towards your secondary education. Depending on this number, federal aid will be awarded to you. When in doubt, discuss your options with your academic adviser and check Cappex for more information on scholarships and financial aid packages!

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