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Federal Perkins Loan Program

Overview and Requirements

As of September 30, 2017, the Federal Perkins Loan program has been retired and no new Perkins Loans are being awarded. Questions regarding existing Perkins Loans should be directed to our billing servicer, ECSI, by phone at 888-549-3274 or by live chat through their website.

On August 24, 2022, The Department of Education announced a debt cancellation option for eligble borrowers of loans held by the Department of Education. At this time, Perkins Loans not held by the Department of Education, including American University Perkins Loans, are not included in the debt relief plan. For questions and updates regarding the tarageted debt relief effort, please visit the Federal Student Aid Webiste

For questions regarding any other financial aid, please refer to the Office of Financial Aid


General Information

Once you leave school, drop enrollment below half time status, or graduate: 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. 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, other information, and complete needed forms.

Once in repayment, Perkins Loans are eligible for deferment, forbearance and cancelation. Applications for these options are available on the Heartland ECSI website. 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. Failure to pay will result in a stop on your account. This stop will remain until the balance has been resolved.

Perkins loan borrowers are eligible for a one-time Loan Rehabilitation Program, if their loan has fallen into default. This program allows students to enter into a 9-month repayment arrangement. Upon successful completion of 9 consecutive on-time monthly payments, all negative credit reporting is removed and the loan is no longer considered delinquent. After 6 months of payments, borrowers are eligible to have their past-due stop removed with AU. The Loan Rehabilitation plan can be setup with the collection agency currently in possession of the loan, or by contacting us directly. The Loan Rehabilitation Program is available to borrowers one time over the life of the Perkins loan.

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.

The exit interview is a Federal requirement and failure to complete it will result in a restriction being placed on a student’s account which 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 at 1-888-549-3474.

To complete exit counseling/exit interview for a Federal Perkins loan, please visit: