Skip to main content

Student Loan Office

About the Perkins Loan

The Federal Perkins Loan is a low-interest (5%) need based loan available to undergraduate students. It is subject to availability and your financial need. Awards are packaged by the Financial Aid Office and then administered through the Student Loan Office. This means that American University is your lender for the Perkins Loan.

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 a student leaves 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.

The University does have a program to assist students who may have fallen into default called the Perkins Loan Rehabilitation Program. This program allows students to enter into a new repayment arrangement and after 9 consecutive on-time monthly payments, all derogatory credit reporting is removed. After 6 months of payments, borrowers are eligible to have their stops removed from their account and their default (not credit) information updated with NLSDS. This plan can be setup directly with Heartland/ECSI.

Requirements/Disclosures for Perkins


New Perkins Borrowers

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 Perkins Borrowers

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:

Contact Information

AU Central, Asbury 201
Office Hours: M-F 9:00 am-5 pm
Main Line: 202-885-8000
Fax Line: 202-885-1477

Phone: 1-888-549-3274
Live Chat: https:/