Perkins Loan Forgiveness & Cancellation

There may be some other pretty beneficial student loan cancellation programs. Still, the Perkins loan forgiveness program is a program standing very close to the top. This program forgives some percentage of student loans of those suffering from loan debt. Bear in mind that here the beneficiaries access forgiveness benefit both through the accumulated interest amount, and the principal amount. It is done in accordance with every year that the loan taker serves in an eligible facility. Let’s say you are a beneficiary of this program. In this case, every completed year that you serve at a qualifying entity counts for cancellation.

This Perkins loan repayment program works just like any other student loan forgiveness program. To access its benefits, you just have to be eligible for the required criteria. Just like in other Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Programs, the Federal Government will cancel an amount from your student loan debt when you meet those criteria. 

As mentioned above, the Perkins loan cancellation program forgives percentage both on interest amount and principal. In my humble opinion, this is the best aspect of this forgiveness program. Just imagine that you can get your entire loan cancellation in only 5 years. And that is sharply two times faster than that of Public Service Loan Forgiveness. 

Who Qualifies for Perkins Loan Forgiveness?

It is clear that not everybody qualifies for this program. Instead, it is designed for people working in specific public spheres. Get familiar with the list of types of people qualifying for Perkins Loan Deferment.

  • Any teacher that supplies services relevant to teaching in a classroom. Note that the category of teacher applies to school counselors and librarians, as well. 
  • Workers at a family or child services organization
  • Faculty members operating at a university or tribal college
  • Suppliers of early childhood teaching
  • Any sort of military servant
  • Law enforcement representatives
  • Firefighters
  • Public defenders
  • Volunteers for the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps VISTA
  • A nurse or medical technician
  • Speech pathologist possessing a master degree and working at a Title 1 institution
  • Professional supplier of timely intervention services

The Case of Nurses

For nurses, there are some requirements in terms of the position they work at. In a nutshell, you will qualify for the benefit of Perkins cancellation if you work in one of the following positions: Medical Assistant, Licensed Practical Nurse, Registered Nurse, American Registered Nursing Practitioner, and Certified Nursing Assistant. 

That said, not only nurses benefit from this program. If you are a Licensed Medical Technician, the Perkins loan forgiveness program can still help you to get rid of your student loan. 

The Case of Medical Technicians

As stated above, medical technicians can also benefit from the Perkins loan forgiveness program. In order to be eligible for the cancellation, the technicians have to be licensed or certified by a state organization at which they supply healthcare duty. At the same time, they have to be suitable for the definition of being a person that “expedites or assists the work of healthcare experts.” You can get familiar with a list of Medical Technicians who can be eligible for this cancellation program.

  • Occupational Therapists
  • Physical Therapists
  • Dental Hygienists
  • Dental Lab Technicians
  • Perfusionists
  • Orthotists
  • Respiratory Therapists
  • Speech-Language Pathologists

In general, why I especially like this forgiveness program is the benefits it offers to healthcare workers. As you can see, nurses are not only medical service providers that can benefit from it. 

The Case of Teachers

Just like nurses, there are some requirements teachers have to meet to fully qualify for Perkins loan forgiveness. Initially granted, as a teacher, you have to teach in a low-income school. If it is not the case, you have to teach in an area that is deemed by the state to have a shortage of teachers. 

On top of that, the teachers operating in private schools can qualify for the Perkins program, too. For this, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) should acknowledge the school they work at as a non-profit organization. 

Note that all special education instructors operating full-time in public schools qualify for this benefit, too. 

Lastly, there is one nuance you should keep in mind before starting the cancellation process. You have to accomplish a full year of service in a qualifying sector. If you are a teacher, it will be one whole academic year.

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How Much Amount Can Be Cancelled Through Perkins Forgiveness?

Here I will talk about one of the unique sides of the Perkins Loan Repayment program. The thing is, in this program, the forgivable debt amount is not estimated by USD. Instead, you will see its deduction based on percentage. Before moving to its nuts and bolts, let me make one thing clear. In the Perkins Loan Deferment program, the job you possess defines the forgivable amount. For simplicity, I will classify the jobs into five categories.

Job Categories for Forgiveness Eligibility

The First Category

The first category includes jobs that will get you up to 100% of debt cancellation. Note that serving five years in these jobs will suffice for debt forgiveness. These jobs are the following:

  • Nurse
  • Teacher
  • Professional supplier of timely intervention services
  • Law enforcement representative
  • A worker at a family or child services organization

The Second Category

The second category includes occupations that will still get you forgiveness up to 100%. Five years of service is sufficient to qualify for the Perkins loan forgiveness through these jobs, too. That said, there is just one exception. To qualify for forgiveness through employment in this category, you must have fulfilled your service on or after the 15th of August, 2008. These jobs are:

  • Public defender
  • Speech pathologist possessing a master degree and working at a Title 1 institution
  • Firefighter
  • Librarian possessing a master degree and working at a Title 1 institution
  • Faculty member operating at a university or tribal college
  • Military servant

The Third Category

Choosing a job from the third category, you will still qualify for up to 100% loan forgiveness. Nevertheless, it will take you seven years to access the full benefit. Overall, there are two types of jobs you may work at. The first is a faculty member in the Head Start program’s education unit. And the second job is a faculty member in the education unit of a licensed childcare or prekindergarten program. Serving at any of these jobs for seven years will free you from your Perkins loan debt. 

The Fourth Category

The fourth category is different from the above ones. Here, you need to have served for only four years. That said, it will wipe off only 50% of your Perkins loan repayment amount. Also, there is just one occupation in this category. It is a military servant. You may wonder about the difference between the military servant occupation in the second category. Well, the only difference is in this category, you must have fulfilled your service before the 14th of August, 2008. 

The Fifth Category

Finally, there is the last – fifth category. In this category, there is just one job you can work at. In fact, it is not a job, but volunteering. Yes, you saw it right. You have to volunteer at the Peace Corps or Americorps for four years if you choose this option. At the end of four years, you will get rid of 70% of your Perkins loan. I do think that it is a pretty fair percentage for four years of service. 

The Structure of Forgiveness Amount

One of the unique sides of the Perkins Loan Forgiveness program is its forgiveness amount structure. As you already know, it usually takes five years to complete the service to access loan cancellation. And the thing is different percentages are deducted in those years. Usually, during the first two years, you will get rid of 15% of your loan debt. That will make 30% of your debt in total. In the third and fourth years, this amount will be 20%. And that will make 40% of your debt overall. The last – fifth year of service will wipe off 30% of your student loan debt. As you can see, going forward, your annual forgiveness amount rises, too. 

Probably, a question popped up in your mind at this moment. You want to know how this percentage division happens with four and seven years services. Well, it is quite different in such services. For instance, in the third category, you will have to serve for seven years. And in 6 of those seven years, 15% will be deducted from your loan debt amount. In the seventh last year, the remaining 10% will disappear. 

In the fourth category, as you already know, 50% of your Perkins Loan Repayment amount can be canceled. And each of those four service years will take away sharply 12.5% from that amount. 

As mentioned above, you can get rid of 70% of your loan amount in the fifth category occupation. Here, the initial two years will wipe off 15% each. As a result, 30% out of forgivable 70% will vanish. The remaining 40% will be divided into two parts. And the third and fourth years each will erase 20%. 

Apply for Student Loan Forgiveness Help

If you struggle with university student loan forgiveness, then you should get help with that. Because the employees in these agencies are dealing with the student loans every day and they have enough experience for solving different kinds of student loan problems.

What Steps Should You Follow to Access Perkins Cancellation?

You have to keep one nuance in mind regarding the application process of the Perkins Loan Forgiveness program. The Education Department of the US does not handle this process. Here, you will have to fill out a specific application provided by your school. You can get this application form from your loan servicer, too. Therefore, no single application process exists for all Perkins Loan Repayment program candidates. 

Still, there is no need to worry. I will go through the necessary steps you should follow. It will make everything much clearer for you in terms of application. 

Check Qualification Criteria

The first thing should always come first. You have to possess a particular public service work. At the same time, your employer must meet some criteria. So, I advise you to check it with your employer. If both your work and your employer are compliant with the requirements, then you are good to go. For instance, let’s say you are serving as a teacher. In this case, you have to ensure the school you teach at is determined as Title 1.

Check the Details of Your Perkins Loan

In the second step, you need to find the details of your Perkins loan. For this, what you have to do is to log in to the National Student Loan Data System. Once you log in, you will be able to check the details of your Perkins loan in the system. For example, you will be able to easily find the school that provided the Perkins loan for you. Just like that, you will be able to find your loan servicer, too, in the system. 

Connect with Your Loan Servicer or School

In the third step, you should contact either your school or your loan servicer. I advise you to start with your school to make the Perkins Loan Forgiveness process smoother. Start with contacting the Department of Financial Aid of your school. They will notify you regarding the application process. So, you will know if you will proceed with the application process with them or with your loan servicer. 

Fill Out the Perkins Loan Forgiveness Application

This is one of the most critical steps you will complete. Usually, the application form for different loan servicers look different. Still, all of them will approximately request for the information below:

  • Your personal contact data
  • The kind of service you currently operate in
  • The account number of your Perkins loan
  • The data regarding your employer
  • The certification of your employer
  • The start and finish date of the whole year you request the Perkins loan forgiveness application for
  • Your signature

Submit the Application Annually

As you see, every year you serve, accounts for forgiveness separately. That is why you will have to submit this application for four, five, or seven years. 

Also, some loan servicers will demand you to fill out and submit the form of “Anticipation of Forgiveness” at the beginning of the year. In this case, they will require you to do the same for the “Request for Forgiveness” form at the end of the year. I advise you you submit both forms at the same time after the initial year.

In general, it is recommended to be very careful with your paperwork regarding the Perkins Loan Forgiveness program. Therefore, you would be better off by constantly contacting your school and loan servicer in this process. 

What Common Mistakes Should You Avoid?

You are almost ready to apply for the Perkins Loan Deferment program. Nevertheless, there is one nuance you should be aware of, to make the application process perfect. And that is about the common mistakes that you should avoid.

Confusing Start and Finish Date

First, you have to ensure there is no date mismatch in your application. For example, the start and finish date of your Perkins Loan Deferment application must be compliant with the period you serve. Likewise, the dates on your applications for subsequent years have to comply with previous years, too. Otherwise, you can be sure that your application will be rejected. To ensure everything goes smoothly, I advise you to keep a copy of your forgiveness applications.

Confusing the Loan Servicer with the Lending Entity

It is one most common mistakes the majority of applicants make. To understand the situation for once and forever, keep one point in mind: the lending entity of your Perkins loan is your school, not loan servicer. So, write your school as the lending entity in your Perkins Loan Forgiveness application. Otherwise, your application will definitely be rejected. 

You may have attended several schools. If that is the case, check your details once again to kill all the questions in your mind. 

Not Possessing the Required Employer Verification

There is a section in every Perkins Loan Forgiveness application that your employer must fill. This section will verify your employment. Let’s say the form asks the employer to put a stamp. If your employer provides a seal, your application will be rejected. So, I advise you to be extra careful here. 

Also, they may sometimes require a seal instead of a stamp. If that is the case, ensure your school provides a seal. Note that many schools may not possess a seal to provide. On such occasions, ask the district office for the required seal. 

Using the Same Form When Altering Loan Servicers

It is the last common mistake you must avoid. Bear in mind that sometimes you may need to change your loan servicer. Likewise, your school may transfer some work to the loan servicer. In this case, you need to use the application form of the new loan servicer. In a nutshell, have a call with your new servicer to get the new form.


To sum up, the Perkins Loan Forgiveness program is one of my favorite cancellation programs. As it is crystal clear, it will usually erase up to 100% of your loan debt in five years. Still, it is advisable to be careful with the process. You already know that failing to meet certain requirements will eliminate you. It is the last thing you want to happen to your application.  

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