Perkins Loans

Federal Perkins Loan FAQ

  1. A Perkins loan is included in my Financial Aid Award package. How is a Perkins loan different from a Stafford loan or private loan?
  2. What is the interest rate on my Perkins loan?
  3. Do I need to sign something to receive the funds?
  4. Do I have to sign a new promissory note each year?
  5. What if I already have a Perkins loan from another college or university?
  6. Does Willamette University report to the National Student Clearinghouse?
  7. What is Willamette University’s relationship with Educational Computer Systems, Inc. (ECSI)?
  8. I am trying to login to ECSI’s website but they are asking for a “School Code”. What is Willamette’s “School Code”?
  9. I know that I have borrowed loans while I’ve been at Willamette, but don’t remember which ones or the amounts of them. How do I find this information?
  10. I am graduating. What do I need to do about my loans?
  11. I plan to take a leave of absence for a semester, but will be returning to Willamette afterward. Do I still need to complete an Exit Interview?
  12. What address do I provide on my Exit Interview as my permanent mailing address? I am not sure where I will be after I leave school.
  13. If I update the Alumni or Registrar’s offices with my new contact information, will that also update my Perkins loan?
  14. My parents plan to make my Perkins loan payments for me. Do I need to give them authorization to call if they have questions about my loan?
  15. Are there any prepayment penalties associated with this loan?
  16. How do I defer my Perkins loan if I go back to school?
  17. My Perkins loan is entering repayment next month and I don’t have a job. What if I get a job and am still unable to make payments on my loan? What do I do?
  18. Where do I find forms to apply for my Perkins loan benefits?
  19. How do I know if I qualify for a cancellation benefit? How does the process work?
  20. If I volunteer with Teach for America can I qualify for a Teacher Cancellation?
  21. What are the pros and cons of including my Perkins loan with my other loans if I decide to consolidate?
  22. I am in the Military. What happens to my Perkins loan when I am called up?
  23. What does “Default” mean for a Perkins loan?
  24. What is “Loan Rehabilitation”?
  25. Who is the Student Aid Ombudsman?

1. A Perkins loan is included in my Financial Aid Award package. How is a Perkins loan different from a Stafford loan or private loan?

Your Perkins loan is unique in many ways. Perkins loan funds are made up of federal and University funds. Willamette University is your lender, rather than a bank or guarantee agency. When you leave Willamette and enter repayment, your Perkins loan payments will be made to the University. Your Perkins loan has a nine month grace period. Your other student loans have a six month grace period. Your Perkins loan comes with many benefits that are not included in other loans, such as cancellation benefits based on specific areas of employment or service. When you repay Perkins loan funds to the school, the money is again lent to students according to their need.

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2. What is the interest rate on my Perkins loan?

Your interest rate is fixed at 5%.

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3. Do I need to sign something to receive the funds?

When you see your first tuition statement, a "(P)" will appear ahead of your Perkins loan award for the semester. This indicates that your Perkins loan funds are pending. Just prior to the first day of classes, a message from the Perkins Loan Office will be sent to your Willamette University email address. The message will include instructions for e-signing and completing your online Perkins Loan Master Promissory Note and Entrance Session. Note: You will need your Federal PIN, the one that you used to file your online FAFSA, to login to the website. Once you have completed those steps, the transfer of your Perkins loan funds to your tuition account will be initiated. It may take a few days before the actual Perkins loan funds are applied to your tuition account.

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4. Do I have to sign a new promissory note each year?

No. Once you have signed a Perkins Loan Master Promissory Note, it is good for all disbursements made to you from Willamette University within the next ten years. In subsequent years, be sure the Office of Financial Aid has received all financial documents necessary to determine your award. Once you accept your Perkins loan funds in your Financial Aid Award package, the transfer of funds will be initiated.

If you sign a Perkins Loan Master Promissory Note and decline your Perkins loan funds so that you receive no disbursement within a 12 month period, your promissory note will be voided and a new one will have to be signed to receive funds.

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5. What if I already have a Perkins loan from another college or university?

The school where you were enrolled at the time you received Perkins loan funds is the lender for those funds. All Perkins loan funds are subject to the same federal regulations, but each school maintains, collects and reports their funds separately.

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6. Does Willamette University report to the National Student Clearinghouse?

Yes. Your enrollment at Willamette University will be reported to the National Student Clearinghouse.  It may take a few weeks after you start classes, however, before that enrollment information is downloaded by lenders. If you have loans from another school or lender, you should check with that lender to make sure you understand their student deferment requirements.

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7. What is Willamette University’s relationship with Educational Computer Systems, Inc. (ECSI)?

ECSI maintains our Perkins loan database in a secure environment. Perkins loan borrowers may login to their website using a school code, account number and PIN given to them by ECSI (not the same as their federal PIN used to sign the promissory note). Borrowers may update contact information, view their account status and promissory note, make payments online, set up automatic payments, download and print forms, etc. ECSI performs services such as federal reporting, reporting to credit bureaus, sending statements by US Mail and email. They record loan disbursements and maintain payment and transaction histories.

Borrowers may contact ECSI for general information, login and website assistance. Borrowers with questions about their account status, payment arrangements, deferment and cancellation benefits, payoff or payment details etc., will be referred to the Perkins Loan Office at Willamette. Payments made by check and all applications are mailed to and processed by the Perkins Loan Office, as well. Applications mailed to ECSI are forwarded to the Perkins Loan Office, and will result in a processing delay.

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8. I am trying to login to ECSI’s website but they are asking for a “School Code”. What is Willamette’s “School Code”?

Q5

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9. I know that I have borrowed loans while I’ve been at Willamette, but don’t remember which ones or the amounts of them. How do I find this information?

You can follow this link to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) Student Access website: http://www.nslds.ed.gov/nslds_SA/

You will need your federal PIN to login (the one you used to file your online FAFSA). This website lists all of your federal loans, but no private loans are listed. Your lender's contact information is also listed on the NSLDS website.

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10. I am graduating. What do I need to do about my loans?

During the month of March prior to graduation in May, you will be invited to Senior Salute. This is a one day event designed to inform prospective graduates about tasks to be completed in your final days at Willamette. Among representatives of many other offices on campus, representatives from the Perkins Loan Office and the Office of Financial Aid will be there to provide information on Exit Interviews for your loans. December graduates will be contacted by email and/or mail with Exit Interview instructions.

Graduates with Perkins loans will be given instructions to complete their Perkins Loan Exit Interview Session online through ECSI's website. Borrowers may also make individual appointments with Bev Loos, Perkins Loan Specialist, to discuss specific questions about their Perkins loans that were not answered during the online session. Perkins Loan Exit Interview Sessions are mandatory according to federal regulations. Borrowers who do not complete this requirement will have a hold placed on their academic transcript until the Exit Interview Session has been successfully completed.

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11. I plan to take a leave of absence for a semester, but will be returning to Willamette afterward. Do I still need to complete an Exit Interview?

Yes.  Whenever a Perkins loan borrower graduates, withdraws, takes a leave of absence, or otherwise drops below half-time enrollment at Willamette University, they are required to complete a Perkins Loan Exit Interview Session. When the Perkins Loan Office receives notification from the Office of the Registrar that a student has changed enrollment status that would warrant the need for an Exit Interview, a hold is placed on the borrower's academic transcript and a packet including a paper version of the Perkins Loan Exit Interview Session is mailed to the borrower. Instructions for the online session are also included with the packet. The borrower may complete either the paper or online version. When the Exit Interview information is received by the Perkins Loan Office and verified to be complete, the hold is removed from the borrower's academic transcript.

If a Perkins loan borrower returns to at least half-time enrollment at Willamette prior to the expiration of their original nine-month grace period, they are placed back in enrolled status and the nine month grace period will re-start upon completion of the enrollment period. If the borrower has returned to Willamette, but their original grace period has expired and they are now in repayment, they will only receive a six month post-deferment grace period upon completion of the enrollment period. No payments are due and no interest accrues during any deferment or grace period.

When you return to Willamette, please stop by the Perkins Loan Office to let us know that you are back. This is especially important if you are in repayment when you return to school. The Perkins Loan Office is located on the ground floor of Waller Hall.

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12. What address do I provide on my Exit Interview as my permanent mailing address? I am not sure where I will be after I leave school.

Your situation is not uncommon. You may use your parents' mailing address if you think you will be moving around. Be careful, though, to make sure they are forwarding your mail or that you pick it up from them frequently. If you have not received the statements from ECSI during your grace period, you may not remember that you are entering repayment on your Perkins loan three months after your other loans entered repayment.  This situation can easily cause a Perkins loan borrower to become delinquent.  As soon as you are settled at a new address, update your contact information on ECSI's website or by calling the Perkins Loan Office at Willamette. It is the borrower's responsibility to always keep the Perkins Loan Office informed of their whereabouts. 

While completing their Perkins Loan Exit Interview Session online, many borrowers choose the "E-bill" option. This means that ECSI will send a message to the borrower's email address each time they are scheduled to receive a statement, rather than mailing a paper statement. If you choose this option BE VERY CAREFUL! Willamette email addresses expire. Be sure to update your email address to one you will use regularly. Depending on your email provider and your email choices, ECSI's message may be filtered out and dumped into your trash. You will enter repayment in nine months regardless.

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13. If I update the Alumni or Registrar’s offices with my new contact information, will that also update my Perkins loan?

No. The Perkins loan database is independent of other offices on campus. You must update your contact information on ECSI's website or by contacting the Perkins Loan Office.

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14. My parents plan to make my Perkins loan payments for me. Do I need to give them authorization to call if they have questions about my loan?

Absolutely! Strict privacy laws prevent the Perkins Loan Office staff or ECSI's staff from discussing personal loan information with anyone except the borrower. You may authorize another person to contact these offices on ECSI's website after you login to your Perkins loan account.

It is also important to remember that you are the responsible party, even if someone else is making loan payments for you. If your payments are not received on time, your credit history will reflect that delinquency, even if you are not making the payments yourself. Discuss the terms of the loan with your parents so they understand the responsibility, and keep in touch with them to make sure payments are on track.

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15. Are there any prepayment penalties associated with this loan?

No.

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16. How do I defer my Perkins loan if I go back to school?

ECSI downloads enrollment information from the National Student Clearinghouse. If the Registrar's Office at the school where you are enrolled reports to the National Student Clearinghouse, ECSI will receive that information. Your Perkins loan will be automatically deferred.  If your school does not report their enrollment information in this manner, you will need to request a student deferment manually. You may download and print a Request for Deferment Form here: https://www.ecsi.net/bwr/forms/wdef.pdf. Complete the Request for Deferment Form through Section 3. Take it to the Registrar's Office at the school where you are enrolled after the first day of class. Request them to complete Section 4. Mail the completed form to Willamette University, Perkins Loan Office, 900 State Street, Salem, OR  97301-3931. Do not mail it to ECSI as instructed on the form, as they will forward the form to our office for processing, causing a delay.

Note: If your Perkins loan is still in its original nine month grace period when you return to school, your nine month grace period will restart after your enrollment period. If your Perkins loan is in repayment when you return to school, it is important that you contact the Perkins Loan Office to discuss procedure. If one or more payments are due on your Perkins loan when your enrollment information is downloaded from the National Student Clearinghouse, the deferment will be automatically denied because you owe money on your loan. 

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17. My Perkins loan is entering repayment next month and I don’t have a job. What if I get a job and am still unable to make payments on my loan? What do I do?

Call the Perkins Loan Office at 1(800) 338-9316 or (503) 375-5455. You may also send an email to Bev Loos, Perkins Loan Specialist, at bloos@willamette.edu, explaining your situation. We can assist you in your crisis. Whether you are unemployed or experiencing another financial hardship that hinders your ability to pay your student loan payments, we can discuss the benefit that best suits your circumstances.

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18. Where do I find forms to apply for my Perkins loan benefits?

You can download and print forms for all of the Perkins loan benefits here: https://www.ecsi.net/bwr/forms/index.html. Scroll down the page until you see the group of "ECSI Forms". If you do not find the form that you need, or have questions about how to complete the form or the application process, contact the Perkins Loan Office at Willamette.

Mail the completed form along with all supporting documentation to Willamette University, Perkins Loan Office, 900 State Street, Salem, OR  97301-3931, rather than to ECSI as instructed on the form. According to our contract with ECSI, they do not process applications for benefits on Willamette's behalf. If you send the forms to ECSI, they will forward the form to Willamette University, which will cause a delay in processing due to the mail time involved. If you have mailed application forms to the Perkins Loan Office and have not received a response within a reasonable amount of time, please call us at 1(800) 338-9316 or (503) 375-5455, or send an email inquiry to bloos@willamette.edu. Forms that don't require an official seal or stamp may be faxed to (503) 370-6633.  It is best to check with the Perkins Loan Office after faxing the form to make sure it was received.

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19. How do I know if I qualify for a cancellation benefit? How does the process work?

A list of employment and volunteer opportunities that qualify for cancellation is listed in the text of your Perkins Loan Master Promissory Note. You may view your promissory note when you login to your account on ECSI's website here: https://www.ecsi.net/.

If you believe that you may qualify for a cancellation benefit, contact the Perkins Loan Office at Willamette for clarification of the benefit involved. Our office has access to federal regulations that more specifically define qualification guidelines. If the Perkins Loan Office determines that you will most likely qualify for the cancellation benefit, download, print and complete the Request for Deferment/Cancellation form (under the "ECSI Forms" heading) that applies to your area of employment or volunteer category. Be sure that your employer has verified your employment in Section II of the form. Include an official job description and any other supporting documentation requested on the form. Mail the form and documents to Willamette University, Perkins Loan Office, 900 State Street, Salem, OR  97301-3931, rather than to ECSI as instructed on the form. According to our contract with ECSI, they do not process applications for deferments and cancellations on Willamette's behalf. If you mail the forms and documents to ECSI, ECSI will forward them to Willamette University for processing, which will cause a delay due to the mail time involved.

When your application is approved, a deferment will be processed beginning your first day of full-time qualifying employment/service, and will end one year later. That deferment period will be followed by a six month post-deferment grace period, giving you extra time to complete your next set of forms. No interest accrues and no payments are due during the deferment or the grace period following. After completion of twelve months of full-time qualifying employment/service, you will need to complete the same form, this time listing your previous year dates on the "Cancellation" line and dates for the next year on the "Deferment" line. Most benefits have an annual cancellation rate of 15%, 15%, 20%, 20%, and 30% or the remaining balance due on the loan. Cancellation percentages apply to the original principal balance of the loan. Any money paid toward the loan balance prior to the cancellation may not be refunded.

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20. If I volunteer with Teach for America can I qualify for a Teacher Cancellation?

No. Teach for America is an AmeriCorps program. Even though you are teaching full time at a school recognized by the US Department of Education as a low income school, you must use AmeriCorps rules. AmeriCorps volunteers are eligible for forbearance during their term of service. When the term of service is completed, AmeriCorps provides payment for accrued interest, as well as a stipend to be used for future enrollment or loan repayment costs. Applications can be found on the AmeriCorps website. Contact your AmeriCorps advisor for more information.

If you continue to teach full time at a federally recognized low income school after you complete your term of service with AmeriCorps, you will then be eligible to begin the deferment/cancellation process available to teachers who are Perkins loan borrowers.

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21. What are the pros and cons of including my Perkins loan with my other loans if I decide to consolidate?

Perkins loan borrowers are cautioned to review the text of their Perkins Loan Master Promissory Note before making a decision to consolidate. A borrower's Perkins Loan Master Promissory Note may be viewed on ECSI's website after they login. All original terms and benefits of this loan are lost at the time the Perkins loan is paid in full through consolidation. These benefits include cancellation for various areas of eligible full time employment positions and volunteer opportunities. The interest rate for Perkins loans are fixed at 5%. When a Perkins loan is consolidated, that fixed rate is traded for an interest rate based on a weighted average of all loans included within the consolidation. The original ten year loan repayment period of a Perkins loan is extended by consolidation so that total interest repaid over the life of a consolidation loan far exceeds that of the original repayment schedule.

Some Perkins loan borrowers find, however, that they do not plan to ever work or volunteer in a qualifying cancellation area. They may find that the newly calculated interest rate is favorable. They may benefit more from the lower payments afforded by the consolidation process, and the extra interest paid in the long run would be considered a good investment. These borrowers do well to consolidate.

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22. I am in the Military. What happens to my Perkins loan when I am called up?

In recent years, the deferment and cancellation benefits for Military personnel have become more complex. Review the applications here to determine which benefit best suits your circumstances. Contact the Perkins Loan Office at Willamette University to discuss any questions you might have. If you cannot contact the Perkins Loan Office yourself, a family member may call on your behalf. Complete the application that best applies to you and mail it with a copy of your orders to Willamette University, Perkins Loan Office, 900 State Street, Salem, OR  97301-3931. Do not send your information to ECSI, as they will forward it to Willamette for processing, causing a delay. You may fax your forms to 1(503) 370-6633, or contact Bev Loos, Perkins Loan Specialist, by email at bloos@willamette.edu.

Military Deferment Request: https://www.ecsi.net/bwr/forms/mil_def.pdf

Military Deferment/Cancellation Request: https://www.ecsi.net/bwr/forms/ecsi/canc_military.pdf

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23. What does “Default” mean for a Perkins loan?

A Perkins loan borrower is technically in default one day after a scheduled payment is due and not paid. Willamette University follows due diligence guidelines regulated by the federal government that include a schedule of late notices sent from ECSI and phone call attempts made by the Perkins Loan Office. Borrowers' Perkins loan statuses are reported monthly to Equifax, our credit reporting agency. Delinquent accounts will be reported as such. It is the Perkins loan borrower's responsibility to keep the Perkins Loan Office informed of their current contact information at all times.

Perkins loan borrowers persisting to maintain a delinquent status with their Perkins loan, after unsuccessful attempts by the Perkins Loan Office to contact or locate them, or to resolve the delinquency, will be assigned to a collection agency.  Substantial collection fees will be added to the original loan balance in this scenario. Legal action may also be pursued to collect the total balance due. Once a Perkins loan has been assigned to a collection agency, you must communicate directly with the agency to resolve the debt. Do not call ECSI or the Perkins Loan Office unless you are only requesting contact information for the collection agency. Note: There is no statute of limitations on a Perkins loan.

All federal student loan lenders are required to report their loan portfolios monthly to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). A Perkins loan reaching 240/270 days past due (per specifications) will be flagged on NSLDS as "In Default". At this stage, a Perkins loan borrower is no longer eligible to receive further federal financial aid dollars if they return to school until the default is cured.

If you are delinquent on your Perkins loan payments or think you may become delinquent due to financial hardship, call the Perkins Loan Office immediately!  We will assist you with payment resolution unless you have already been assigned to a collection agency.

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24. What is “Loan Rehabilitation”?

Loan Rehabilitation is a one-time benefit available to Perkins loan borrowers who have incurred negative credit history due to delinquent Perkins loan payments. This benefit is also available to allow Perkins loan borrowers to earn resolution for a current delinquency, receiving a new loan repayment schedule with a fresh start.

A borrower requesting Loan Rehabilitation must contact the Perkins Loan Office. A loan payment amount for the next nine months will be determined based on the extent of delinquency and the borrower's ability to successfully make the negotiated payments on time. A contract outlining the plan is mailed to the borrower for their signature, and the new repayment schedule is in effect. If a borrower misses a payment while attempting Loan Rehabilitation, they may request a new repayment schedule and start over again at the first payment.

Once the borrower successfully completes nine Loan Rehabilitation payments on time, ECSI submits a request to Equifax, our credit reporting agency, to remove all negative credit history from the borrower's Perkins loan. Any additional delinquencies incurred after completion of Loan Rehabilitation, however, will be treated as such, and due diligence and collection procedures will be followed. Any new delinquencies will be recorded and remain on the borrower's credit history.

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25. Who is the Student Aid Ombudsman?

Perkins loan borrowers are strongly encouraged to discuss any issues or concerns about their loan with the Perkins Loan Office at Willamette University. The Student Aid Ombudsman, however, is provided by the US Department of Education to resolve disputes between lenders and borrowers who cannot otherwise come to terms. Below is their contact information:

U.S. Department of Education
FSA Ombudsman
830 First Street NE
Fourth Floor
Washington, DC  20202-5144
Phone: 1-877-557-2575
Fax: 1-202-275-0549
www.ombudsman.ed.gov

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