Federal Perkins Loan

The Federal Perkins Loan Program ended September 30, 2017. No new loans can be awarded after that date.

Federal Perkins Loans will not be available for the 2018-2019 award year and beyond.


Here is a quick overview of the Federal Perkins Loan:

The Perkins Loan is a low interest federal student loan for undergraduate and graduate students with exceptional financial need.

  • Available to undergraduate and graduate students who are enrolled at least half-time

  • Awards are based on financial need as demonstrated by the information provided on your FAFSA and on the availability of funds

  • Preference is given to students with exceptional need on a first-come, first-serve basis

  • The interest rate is fixed at 5%

  • The federal government pays the interest while the student is enrolled on at least a half time basis and during the grace period

  • Winona State University is the lender; you will complete necessary paperwork and make payments to WSU's Perkins loan servicer, ECSI

  • First time Perkins loan borrowers at WSU must complete a Perkins loan promissory note and entrance counseling

Who is ESCI?

The MN State College and Universities (Minnesota State) has contracted with Educational Computer Systems Incorporated (ECSI) to serve as the Federal Perkins Loan Program servicing agent for all Minnesota State schools including WSU. They perform the following functions for Federal Perkins Loan borrowers:

  • The Federal Perkins Loan promissory note is available to sign electronically at the ECSI web site. This is a multi-year promissory note to be completed one time for all years of participation in the WSU Federal Perkins Loan program.
  • The Federally required Federal Perkins Loan entrance interview is available to complete at the ECSI web site. The entrance interview is completed one time as the start of Federal Perkins Loan borrowing.
  • When a student is no longer enrolled at WSU ECSI makes Federal Perkins Loan repayment arrangements and Federal Perkins Loan payments are made to ECSI.

Other than interest, is there a charge for a Perkins Loan?

No, there are no other charges. However, if you skip a payment, if your payment is late, or if you make less than a full payment, you might have to pay a late charge plus any collection costs.

How will I receive my loan?

Winona State will disburse your loan funds at the beginning of each semester onto your student account.

How much can I borrow?

The amount you can borrow depends on your financial need, the amount of other aid you receive, and the availability of funds available at Winona State. You should apply for federal student aid early every year to make sure you are considered for a Perkins Loan. Due to limited funds, not everyone who qualifies for a Perkins Loan will receive one.

As an undergraduate student the maximum total loan limit that you can borrow in the Perkins Loan is $27,500.

As a graduate student the maximum total loan limit that you can borrow in the Perkins Loan is $60,000, which includes amounts borrowed as an undergraduate.

Can I cancel the loan?

Yes. Before your loan money is disbursed, you may cancel all or part of your loan at time by notifying the financial aid office. After your loan is disbursed, you may cancel all or part of the loan within certain time frames. The financial aid office will email you later with details.

When do I have to pay back my Perkins Loan?

If you are attending school at least half-time, you have nine months after you graduate, leave school or drop below half-time status before you must begin repayment.

Upon leaving Winona State University, all Perkins loan borrowers must complete Perkins exit counseling online. Perkins loan borrowers will receive an e-mail from ECSI (Educational Computer Systems, Inc.), or ecsi.net, who is the servicer of the Perkins loan. They will direct you to the area of their website with directions on completing exit counseling.

Additional information on loans

Loans are sources of funding that allow you to spread the cost of education over time. They are available from various sources, including federal and state governments, and private lenders. Federal and State loans must be accepted prior to the end of the enrollment period to allow sufficient time for school certification and to meet half-time or more enrollment disbursement requirements.

Loans are first credited to your student account with any remaining money disbursed to you through direct deposit. Your loans may be canceled if you do not complete the required documents (i.e., master promissory note and entrance counseling).

When you take out a student loan, you must pay it back--even if you do not complete your education.