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Federal Perkins Loan Program

Overview and Requirements

The Federal Perkins Loan is a low-interest (5%) need-based loan available to undergraduate students. It is subject to availability and financial need. Awarding is determined in conjunction with your other Federal student loans; no separate application is necessary. This loan, unlike the other Federal loans, is administered by the University, which means that American University is your lender for the Perkins loan.

For more information regarding this matter please contact,

AU Central, Asbury 201
Office Hours: M-F 9AM-5PM
Fax: 202-885-1477

General Information

If there is a lapse in enrollment greater than nine months or a student has graduated and will not continue their academic program the following semester, a borrower is considered to have “separated” from the university and must complete an exit interview. The exit interview is a Federal requirement and failure to do so will result in a “restriction/stop” being placed on a student’s account and will prevent obtaining a transcript or diploma. Please note that this requirement is separate from the exit interview that is online for your Direct Loans. For the Perkins loan exit interview process, you must contact Heartland/ESCI.

Once you leave school, drops below half time status or graduates you have a grace period of nine months before you have to start paying back your Perkins Loan. Heartland/ECSI manages all Perkins accounts for American University. They process payments, deferment forms and payment inquiries. Their website offers web access to your Perkins Loan information as well as the tools to manage the loan online. Borrowers can  use this site to view their current and past payment information, receive electronic billing notices, make a payment through a wide variety of payment methods, obtain important news and other information, and complete needed forms.

Once in repayment, Perkins Loans are eligible for deferment, forbearance and cancelation. Perkins Loans that go into default are subject to acceleration (entire balance becomes due at once), fees, collection costs, wage garnishment and assignment to the Department of Education.

Perkins loan borrowers are eligible for a one-time Loan Rehabilitation Program, if their loan has fallen into default. This program allows students to enter into a 9-month repayment arrangement. Upon successful completion of 9 consecutive on-time monthly payments, all negative credit reporting is removed and the loan is no longer considered delinquent. After 6 months of payments, borrowers are eligible to have their past-due stop removed with AU. The Loan Rehabilitation plan can be setup with the collection agency currently in possession of the loan, or by contacting us directly. The Loan Rehabilitation Program is available to borrowers one time over the life of the Perkins loan.



Before the University can disburse loans, students must complete the following items listed below. To complete this process, go to

  1. Complete Federal Entrance Counseling
  2. Complete the Loan Interview Questionnaire
  3. Sign your Master Promissory Note (MPN)

Returning student borrowers are not required to submit documentation. An eDisclosure detailing the total loan indebtedness will be sent upon loan disbursements to all student borrowers.

Exit Loan Counseling

Federal regulations require that institutions offer exit counseling to federal student loan borrowers who are graduating, withdrawing from the university, or dropping below half-time enrollment. Exit counseling covers:

  • Borrower's rights and responsibilities
  • Loan repayment
  • Consequences of default

During exit counseling, borrowers are also required to provide updated personal information, such as address, telephone number, and employment.

To complete exit counseling/exit interview for a Federal Perkins loan, please visit: