Undergraduate Federal Perkins Loan
What are Federal Perkins Loans?
The Federal Perkins Loan is a low-interest, long-term loan made to needy undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate financial need in order to help pay for their cost of education. Although Perkins is a federal loan (which has been supplemented by an institutional match), The University of Mississippi is responsible for administering the loan program on our campus. Students repay their Perkins loan obligation directly to The University (and/or UM’s loan servicing partner).
Perkins Loans are need-based aid. Eligibility is based on financial need as determined by federal guidelines. Interest does not accrue on the loan for the student during:
- At least half-time enrollment in school
- The nine-month grace period after the student ceases attendance on at least a half-time basis.
Advantages of the Perkins Loan
- The interest rate is 5%.
- Interest does not accrue on the loan while the student is enrolled at least half-time in school, during the 9 month grace period after the student ceases attendance on at least a half-time basis; and during periods of deferment.
- It carries no origination and guarantee fees. Many other loans may have fees of 0-4%.
- Repayment of the loan does not begin until you graduate or drop below half-time status.
- In cases of economic hardship, payments may be deferred, extended, or reduced.
- The loan is forgiven in case of permanent disability or death.
- You may be allowed up to 10 years to repay the Perkins Loan.
- Certain professions and public service activities may qualify you in the future for loan cancellation (including service in teaching, the Peace Corps, law enforcement, and nursing.)
- Perkins Loans may be consolidated with Stafford Loans for repayment purposes.
Eligibility for Perkins Loans
The Office of Financial Aid determines a student’s Perkins loan eligibility based on information provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Federal criteria include:
- Is a United States citizen or eligible non-citizen.
- Is not in default of any federal student loan.
- Does not have a Federal Pell Grant overpayment.
- Has a processed FAFSA on file with the OFA.
- Demonstrates financial need.
- Is making Satisfactory Academic Progress
Loans are usually issued for a single academic year, and both eligibility and amount are re-determined annually throughout your academic career.
Limited Perkins funds are available each year, so it is recommended that students submit the FAFSA as early as possible to ensure full consideration.
How Much Can I Borrow?
The maximum amount an undergraduate student may borrow is $5,500 per award year; the maximum for a graduate or professional student is $8,000 per award year. Since Perkins Loan funds are limited, the typical annual award at the University of Mississippi is $2,000 for Fall/Spring ($1,000 per semester). Loans may also be available in the summer based on the level of remaining funds.
The interest rate is computed at the rate of 5% per annum simple interest on the unpaid balance.
The Application Process
Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at www.fafsa.gov.
Disbursements of Funds
Before the Federal Perkins Loan can disburse, the student must complete all of the following actions (in addition to maintaining eligibility for the award):
- Accept all or a part of the financial aid package by accessing their individual “Financial Aid Notification” online in the student’s MyOleMiss portal.
- Complete Perkins Loan Entrance Counseling online at Ole Miss Online Entrance Counseling (or request alternate counseling options from the OFA). Financial aid advisors are available during regular business hours to answer questions at the completion of the counseling session.
- Print the Perkins Loan Contract (MPN), which is presented electronically through the student’s “Financial Aid Award Notification” in MyOleMiss. (If the student wishes to process via paper correspondence only, the MPN can be mailed to them upon request.)
- Submit the completed MPN by mail or in person to the Bursar’s Office (202 Martindale, P.O. Box 1848, University, MS 38677). Contracts must be original signed documents and cannot be faxed or scanned.
The loan proceeds will be processed through the Office of Financial Aid. Funds will credit first to your Bursar bill and any excess funds will be mailed to your permanent address or directly deposited to your personal account.
For information about the borrower’s rights and responsibilities, please refer to
The Bursar’s Office handles loan servicing on behalf of UM, including Perkins loan exit counseling. Students may consult the Bursar’s office for specific policies and procedures regarding the process for handling forbearance or deferment requests, reviewing continued eligibility for deferment on an annual basis, contact with borrowers, billing, collection, litigation, and cancellation.