Perkins Loan Forgiveness – Eligibility and Application

Securing Perkins Loan Forgiveness is as possible as anything else. Rest assured because you can get your entire student loan canceled or discharged with the Perkins Lon Forgiveness Plan. This post should guide you through!

Perkins Loan Forgiveness

Federal Perkins Loans are no longer being distributed. The program expired on Sept. 30, 2017. If you have a Perkins Loan from before the program ended, it was made by your school based on financial need.

You can check to see if you have a Perkins Loan by logging into the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). If you do have one, below is everything you need to know to get Perkins Loan forgiveness.

Perkins Loan Forgiveness

Perkins loan forgiveness is a subsidized loan for undergraduate and graduate borrowers with extreme financial needs. The loan program was eliminated on Sept. 30, 2017, after renewal efforts failed in Congress. However, you can still pursue forgiveness for existing Perkins loans if you qualify.

The total amount of Perkins loans that borrowers could take out as undergrads were $27,500; as graduate students, borrowers could get an additional $32,500. Perkins loans, unlike other federal loans, always carry a 5% interest rate and don’t have fees.

Percentage of Perkins Loans that Can be Cancelled

The type of public service job you have determines the amount that can be canceled. In most cases, you’re eligible for 100% cancellation of a Perkins Loan. You must be working full-time in any occupation to be eligible for cancellation.

Perkins Loan cancellation doesn’t happen all at once. It occurs incrementally over a period of time. Most cancellation periods are five years, with the cancellation broken down as follows:

  • 15% of the original principal loan amount for each of the first and second years
  • 20% of the original principal loan amount for each of the third and fourth years
  • 30% of the original principal loan amount for the fifth year

Each amount includes the interest that accrues during that period. If you’re on a cancellation program for either seven or four years, the incremental breakdown can be found in the above chart.

Each year, you’ll need to file your annual cancellation paperwork, just as you did when you first applied.

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Request for Perkins Loan Forgiveness

The application process for Perkins Loan cancellation isn’t operated by the U.S. Department of Education. Instead, your school or loan servicer has a specific application to be completed. For this reason, there’s no streamlined process for every Perkins Loan cancellation candidate.

Below are the basic steps to consider when requesting the Perkins Loan Forgiveness program:

Check Eligibility Requirements

You must hold a specific public service job, but your current employer also needs to meet certain requirements.

Check with your place of employment to make sure it meets the requirements for you to be eligible. For example, teachers need to look at their school’s specifications.


To be eligible for Perkins Loan cancellation, you must be working full-time in an eligible public service role. The following occupations are eligible:

  • Teachers, including special education teachers, librarians, and school counselors. According to Perkins Loan Cancellation, a teacher is anyone who provides students with direct services related to classroom teaching.
  • Early childhood education provider
  • Employee at a child or family services agency
  • Faculty member at a tribal college or university
  • Firefighter
  • Law enforcement officer
  • Military service of any kind
  • Nurse or medical technician
  • Professional provider of early intervention (disability) services
  • Public defender
  • Speech pathologist with a master’s degree at a Title 1 school
  • Volunteer service for AmeriCorps VISTA or the Peace Corps

Find Your Perkins Loan Details

Perkins Loan Forgiveness

Log into the NSLDS and review your Perkins Loan. You’ll be able to find your loan servicer and the school that gave you the Perkins Loan on this page. It will look something like this:

Contact Your School or Loan Servicer

Once you have all the details on your Perkins Loan, you’ll want to reach out to your school first. Call the financial aid department. They will let you know if you need to complete an application with them or if they’re running applications for Perkins Loan cancellation through the loan servicer.

Complete the Perkins Loan Cancellation Application

The application will look a little bit different with every loan servicer, but it generally asks for the following:

  • Personal contact information
  • Perkins loan account number
  • The type of service you’re currently in
  • Employer Information
  • Employer certification with a signature and/or seal
  • The beginning and end dates for the complete year of service you’re requesting cancellation for
  • Your signature

Submit a Request for Cancellation Annually

You’ll need to complete this form annually for the required four to seven years to receive a cancellation.

Certain loan servicers require you to submit an “Anticipation of Cancellation” form at the start of the year and a “Request for Cancellation” at the end of the period. You can see this option in the same form in the image above. If this is the case, after your first year, send in the Anticipation form and Cancellation request at the same time for each subsequent year.

When completing any paperwork regarding your student loans, it’s important to do so correctly and be in communication with your loan servicer or school throughout the process.

Conditions for Perkins Loan Discharge

Perkins Loan cancellation is specific to your occupation. Perkins Loan discharge is available for those who encounter serious financial difficulties or life circumstances that allow for discharge.

Circumstances for Perkins Loan discharge include:

  • Bankruptcy
  • Death
  • School closure (before completion of the program of study)
  • Service-connected disability for veterans
  • Spouse of a victim of the events of 9/11
  • Total and permanent disability

Perkins Loan Forgiveness Application Mistakes to Avoid

Here are some mistakes you have to watch out for while on the Perkins Loan Forgiveness application;

  • Mixing up the beginning and ending dates
  • Not having proper employer verification
  • Mistaking the lending institution with your loan servicer
  • Filing the same form when your loan servicer changes
Perkins Loan Forgiveness

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Final Remarks

If you have a Perkins Loan, you probably have additional student loans as well. You can’t get these canceled, but you may be able to have them forgiven. Continue making payments as you start looking into student loan forgiveness programs. Good luck!

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