The Federal Perkins Loan Program

Written by Michael Bennet

The Federal Perkins Loan Program was designed to benefit students that demonstrate a high financial need for aid to attend college, and in this respect it is very similar to the federal Pell Grant program.

The Perkins Loan Program is in-fact a loan however, and must be paid back at some point, although it carries a very low interest rate that is fixed at five percent. Because this federal student loan is heavily based upon need, your EFC is going to play a very important role in your ability to secure this loan.

Perkins Loan Aid

The amount of aid you can receive from a Perkins Loan will depend on your level of need, in accordance with various other factors, such as the availability of funding at your school, and the amount of additional aid you are already slated to be given for that particular award year.

As an undergraduate student you are able to get up to 5,500 dollars per year of undergraduate study, with a maximum amount of 27,500 dollars for the life of your career as an undergraduate student.

The Perkins Loan is a great student loan to get if you can qualify for it due its very low interest rate, relatively high disbursement amounts, and because it can be utilized in conjunction with both your Stafford Loans, your Pell Grant, and any other federal aid you receive.

In 2009 the average loan amount was set at 2,231 dollars, so don’t think that you will automatically get the maximum amount for that particular school year. The amount you get will depend heavily on your financial need, which is evaluated mostly by your EFC.


The only real downside to the Perkins Loan is its availability, as only about 1,800 schools from across the nation currently participate in this federal program.

It is still very hard to get even if you are currently attending an institution that does participate in the Perkins Loan Program, although if your EFC value is at zero, or close to it, and you have applied on-time, there is a very good chance that you will receive a Perkins Loan.