Perkins Loans

Due to congressional inaction, the Perkins Loan program was terminated on September 30, 2017. Colleges and universities were permitted to continue disbursing Perkins Loans to students through June 30, 2018. However, institutions no longer have the authority to disburse any Perkins Loans.
Following years of advocacy by NAICU and others, the U.S. Department of Education announced in September 2019 that colleges and universities will be reimbursed for the institutional share of Perkins Loans previously cancelled by the federal government. 



The Perkins Loan program provided low-interest loans of up to $5,500 per year to students with demonstrated need. Similar to SEOG, Perkins Loans were an important piece of the campus-based federal aid model, which gives flexibility and discretion to institutional financial aid officers to determine which students with demonstrated need receive Perkins Loans.   

Future of the Perkins Loan Program


As Congress moves to the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, lawmakers will have the chance to revisit the Perkins Loan program. It is the hope of many in the higher education community that Congress will permanently extend the Perkins Loan program, and reverse the tightened eligibility standards contained within the current extension. Such changes include reinstating graduate students for Perkins participation, and a recommitment to the flexibility traditionally provided to financial aid administrators in the program.

The House Democrats’ Higher Education Act reauthorization proposal (the College Affordability Act) proposes to revive the Perkins Loan program, though the proposal creates a hybrid institutional-federal government partnership for disbursing and recollecting loans. The proposal would also rewrite the campus-based aid distribution formulas to redistribute Perkins Loan authority away from smaller institutions in favor of larger institutions. NAICU continues to work with lawmakers to fix the problems contained in the proposed Perkins Loan allocation formulas. 

What You Can Do

Contact your elected officials to:
  • Emphasize the importance of the Perkins Loan program as a means to help American students finance their pursuit of higher education.  
  • Urge them to fully reauthorize the Perkins Loan program and preserve the flexibility of the campus-based aid programs. 
  • If your institution packages Perkins Loans for graduate students, stress the importance of reinstating graduate students for Perkins Loan eligibility.
  • Review any correspondence from the U.S. Department of Education regarding the reimbursement of cancelled Perkins Loans to ensure that the proposed reimbursement matches internal estimates. 

NAICU Contacts