Perkins Loans


Created in 1958, this program was formerly known as the National Direct or National Defense Student Loan.

Student must be enrolled full or part time in an undergraduate or graduate program at a postsecondary institution participating in the Federal Perkins Loan Program. Student must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. Priority is given to students with the greatest financial need.

The Federal Perkins Loan is low interest and is based entirely on need, as determined by the financial aid office. The annual loan limits provide a maximum of $4,000 per year for undergraduates and $6,000 per year for graduates. An aggregate amount of $20,000 may be borrowed for undergraduate study, or $40,000 for undergraduate and graduate study combined. The amount the student borrows depends upon need and availability of funds.

Student applies for a Federal Perkins Loan by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Federal Perkins Loan may be included as part of the student's total financial aid package developed through the college the student attends. Annual application is required.

The current interest rate is 5% per year. Student signs a promissory note upon receipt of each loan and must begin repayment nine months after graduation or leaving school. Student has up to ten years to repay the loan. Part of the Federal Perkins Loan may be canceled for each year the recipient is a full-time special education teacher, teacher of mathematics, science, foreign language, or bilingual education; a full-time nurse or medical technician; a full-time employee of a family service agency providing services to high-risk children; for employment in a criminal justice field; a Peace Corps volunteer; or a member of the US Armed Forces serving in an area of hostility.


Nondiscriminatory Policy

All student financial assistance is awarded on a nondiscriminatory basis without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, veteran status, age (with the exception that borrowers must be at least 17 to enter into loan contracts under North Carolina law), or any other protected characteristics established by law.