What is a Perkins Loan?

The Federal Perkins Loan Program is one of the Federal Title IV Programs. The fund consists of Federal dollars, matching dollars from the University of Maryland University College, and funds that previous student borrowers have repaid. Federal regulations require that these loans go to the neediest aid applicants. Because the fund is limited, not all students who need loans can borrow from this program.

Loan Limits 2016 -2017

Status Annual Limit Aggregate Maximum
Undergraduate – Grade Level 1



Undergraduate – Grade Level 2



Undergraduate – Grade Level 3



Undergraduate – Grade Level 4



Graduate Level



Cost of Borrowing

The Federal Perkins Loan Program does not require borrowers to pay a loan origination fee. The annual interest rate of 5 percent makes the Federal Perkins Loan Program the "lowest cost" federal loan program. Interest does not begin to accrue until nine months after you graduate, cease enrollment, or drop below half-time enrollment (6 credits). 

Entrance Loan Counseling

If you borrow from the Federal Perkins Loan Program, you must complete a loan counseling session every academic year for which you receive a loan, and complete the Federal Perkins Loan Borrower’s Questionnaire at the end of the Perkins Loan counseling session. The link for the entrance counseling will be e-mailed to you by the Office of Student Accounts. 

Master Promissory Note

Perkins Loan borrowers at UMUC will receive a Federal Perkins Loan Master Promissory Note from the UMUC Perkins Loan Coordinator. Borrowers will return their properly completed Perkins Loan Promissory Note to the UMUC Student Accounts.


You will begin to repay a Federal Perkins Loan at the end of a nine-month grace period that begins when you leave the university or drop below a six unit course load. Payments are based on the total amount borrowed, but may not be less than $40 per month. Because your loan requires repayment within ten years, your payments may be higher than the minimum repayment. You can prepay your loan at any time without penalty.  You can consolidate loans from more than one Federal Title IV student loan program and have just one monthly payment. Refinancing may also give you a longer repayment period.

Deferments and Cancellations

During a period of deferment, you will not have to make payments on your loan and no interest will accrue. Under certain circumstances, such as teaching in a designated elementary or secondary school serving students from low-income families, you may cancel the loan. Learn more about deferment and cancellation on the U.S. Department of Education website.


If you have difficulty repaying your loan, you may be granted a limited period of forbearance upon written request. During an approved period of forbearance, reduced or postponed payments result, although interest continues to accrue on your loan.

Other Federal Loans

Read about the Federal Direct Stafford program, offering long-term, low interest loans.

Explore a loan for your dependent child's education.

Learn about using Federal loans for graduate studies.