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Federal Perkins Loan Program
Borrower's Guide

This guide has been designed to inform you of your benefits and obligations under the Federal Perkins Loan Program. When you are no longer attending the SUNY campus that granted your loan(s), or your enrollment drops to less than half-time status, your loan is transferred to the SUNY Student Loan Service Center for billing and collection.

Q: What is the SUNY Student Loan Service Center?

The SUNY Student Loan Service Center (hereafter referred to as the SUNY SLSC) is the central billing and servicing office for the State University of New York state-operated campuses. When you are no longer attending the SUNY campus that granted your loan(s) due to graduation, withdrawal, or a change in status to less than half-time enrollment, your loan is transferred to the SUNY SLSC for servicing. All correspondence and loan payments are to be directed to the SUNY SLSC and not to the campus you attended. Please contact us at:

SUNY Student Loan Service Center
5 University Place
Rensselaer, New York 12144-3440
Phone: (518) 525-2626
Fax: (518) 525-2600
email: slsc@albany.edu

Q: Do I have an account number?

The records of the SUNY SLSC are assigned loan account numbers. Each borrower is assigned a unique 9 digit student identification number which begins with the numbers 898. It is extremely important to include your loan account number on all correspondence to the SUNY SLSC. Unidentified items may result in delayed responses to your inquiries and/or misapplication of payments.

Q: What are the Exit Interview and Repayment Agreement?

All borrowers are required to complete an Exit Interview Questionnaire and Repayment Agreement prior to leaving the campus. This process may be conducted by the Financial Aid or Student Accounts Office, whichever has been designated to perform this task at your campus. If you signed your Perkins promissory note electronically, you have the option to fully complete the exit interview process online.

Q: How can I change my address?

You are required under the terms of the loan agreement to keep the SUNY SLSC informed of any change in your name or address. Leaving a forwarding address notice with the U.S. Postal Service is not considered official notification of a change of address. Failure to properly notify the SUNY SLSC may negatively impact your credit rating if SLSC staff are unable to locate you and service your account.

Q: Is there a repayment grace period?

Once your loan account information is established at the SUNY SLSC, you will be sent a Truth-In-Lending statement confirming your loan information as submitted by the campus. You will also receive periodic reminders during the grace period as to when repayment is due to start. Repayment is required to begin at the end of your initial grace period, which is determined by the regulations in effect at the time the loan was granted. Currently, the grace period is nine months following your separation from the loan-granting campus.

Q: Is there a special military repayment grace period?

If you are in the military reserves, you may qualify for an additional grace period. Under Federal law, the initial grace period excludes any period during which a borrower, who is a member of the reserve component of the Armed Forces named in Title 10, Sec. 10101 of the United States Code, is called or ordered to active duty for more than 30 days. Any single excluded period may not exceed 3 years and includes the time necessary for the borrower to resume enrollment at the next available regular enrollment period. You must contact the SUNY SLSC if you believe you are entitled to this additional grace period.

Q: How do I make my monthly payment?

The interest rate on your Federal Perkins Loan is 5%. Your monthly repayment amount will include the principal and interest needed to repay your original loan amount and the accruing interest over the life of your loan, if payments are received as scheduled. You must pay back your student loan, even if you do not graduate, you do not get a job, or your education did not meet your expectations. Paying your loan on time will help to build a good credit history, which makes it easier for you to borrow money in the future. The SUNY SLSC will send you a billing statement before the first scheduled payment is due. Payment can be made by check, money order, credit card or ACH. NEVER SEND CASH. Checks should be made payable to the SUNY SLSC and be sure to enclose the top portion of your monthly billing statement or coupon with your remittance. ACH (Automated Clearing House) offers you the option of having your checking or savings account directly debited for the amount of your payment each month, which facilitates timely loan payment. To make payment by credit card, please go to Payment Options in the Borrower's section of our website.

Q: What is the length of repayment?

Federal Perkins Loans have a maximum ten-year repayment period. A $40 minimum monthly payment is required. The length of repayment is determined by the total amount borrowed, the interest rate, and the repayment amount. Review your promissory note(s), addendum(s), or the Exit Repayment Agreement for your specific repayment terms.

Q: How are late/missed payments and returned checks handled?

If you do not make timely payments, you will face serious consequences including an adverse credit history, referral of your loan to a collection agency, interception of your NY State tax refund and litigation by the New York State Attorney General and/or referral to DOE for collection. Late charges are assessed for all late payments. Mail your payments as early as possible to ensure timely application. Nonnegotiable checks will be charged up to $20 per occurrence.

Q: Can I prepay?

You may pre-pay this loan, make loan payments before they are required, or in amounts greater than required, at any time without penalty. If you wish to accelerate repayment of your loan (repay ahead of schedule) by making payments larger than the amount required, any additional amount remitted on a current account will be applied to the principal unless otherwise noted. Accelerating repayment shortens the repayment term and reduces the total interest you pay.

Q: Can I make advance payments?

If you wish to make advance payments for future installments, you must request this in writing and your payment must be a multiple of your regular monthly payment. For instance, if your current monthly payment is $100 and you would like to make advance payments for the two succeeding months, your payment must equal $300, which is to be applied as $100 for the current month and $100 for each of the two succeeding months.

Q: What is the U.S. Army repayment program?

The U.S. Army offers a loan repayment program for borrowers of a Perkins or Direct Student Loan for service in the U.S. Army, Army Reserves, or Army National Guard. For more information, contact your local military recruiting office.

Q: What are the Perkins Loan limits?

Undergraduate students may borrow up to $5,500 per award year, with an aggregate loan limit of $27,500. Graduate/professional students may borrow up to $8,000 per award year, with an aggregate loan limit of $60,000. For all non-undergraduate and non-graduate/professional students the aggregate loan limit is $11,000.

Q: What are my deferment benefits?

In accordance with the Federal laws governing your loan, you may apply for deferment of repayment during a period in which you are:
  • enrolled and attending as a regular student in at least a half-time course of study at an eligible school
  • enrolled and attending as a regular student in a graduate fellowship program approved by the Department of Education (DOE); engaged in graduate or post-graduate fellowship-supported study (such as a Fulbright Grant) outside the US
  • enrolled and attending a rehabilitation training program for disabled individuals approved by DOE
  • engaged in public service that qualifies for cancellation of the loan
  • seeking but unable to find full-time employment (limited to 3 years)
  • experiencing an economic hardship as determined by the school (limited to 3 years)
  • serving on active duty or performing qualifying National Guard duty during a war or other military operation or national emergency

Qualifying members of the U.S. Armed Forces are eligible to receive a 180-day period of deferment following demobilization. Certain members of the Armed Forces are eligible for a 13-month deferment following conclusion of their military service.

Q: What is the post-deferment grace period?

A 6-month post-deferment grace period will follow an approved deferment on your loan.

Q: How do I file for deferment?

Contact the SUNY SLSC for required forms and specific filing information. Many deferment forms must be filed with the SUNY SLSC at least once a year for each year you are in an eligible status. The SUNY SLSC is required by Federal regulations to assess a late charge when forms are not submitted in a timely manner. Failure to file forms in a timely manner is equivalent to not making timely payments and as a result, can negatively affect your credit rating. Visit the SLSCís website for deferment forms and detailed filing information.

Q: What is forbearance?

Forbearance is a temporary postponement of payments or the acceptance of smaller payments than were previously scheduled. Interest will continue to accrue during any period of forbearance. Forbearance may be requested verbally or in writing, and adequate documentation that supports a financial inability to make payments provided. Forbearance, granted for up to one year at a time, cannot exceed a maximum of three years, collectively.

Q: Are there any special options for low income borrowers?

If you meet specific qualifications as a low-income individual during repayment, the SUNY SLSC may extend your repayment period up to an additional ten years, adjust the repayment schedule to reflect your income, or both. Contact the SUNY SLSC for specific information.

Q: What are my cancellation benefits?

In accordance with the Federal laws governing your loan, a certain percentage of your loan may be cancelled for each year that you are working in an eligible public service field. Check your promissory note or contact the SUNY SLSC for eligibility information and appropriate forms. The public service positions eligible for cancellation are:
  • full-time teacher in a field of expertise where the State education agency determines there is a shortage of qualified teachers
  • full-time teacher in a federally designated low income school or qualifying educational service agency
  • full-time staff member in a preschool Federal Head Start program or in a pre-k or child care program licensed or regulated by the state
  • full-time special education teacher of infants, toddlers or children of youth with disabilities
  • full-time faculty member at a Tribal college or university
  • full-time librarian with a masterís degree in library science employed in a low-income school or public library serving low-income schools
  • full-time speech language pathologist with a masterís degree working exclusively for specified low-income schools
  • full-time qualified professional provider of early intervention services in a public or nonprofit program under public supervision by the lead agency as authorized in Sec. 635(a)(10) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
  • full-time employee of a public or private nonprofit child or family service agency who is providing, or supervising the provision of, services directly and exclusively to high risk children from low-income communities and the families of such children
  • volunteer under the Peace Corps Act or a volunteer under the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973 (VISTA) (limited to 70% total cancellation)
  • full-time law enforcement officer, corrections officer or a lawyer who is employed by a public defender organization
  • full-time nurse or medical technician providing health care services
  • full-time fire fighter servicing a local, State or Federal fire department or district
  • member of the U.S. Armed Forces for service that qualifies for special pay under Sec. 310 of Title 37 of the U.S. Code, in an area of hostility
If you are working in a position which you believe qualifies you for cancellation benefits, you must file a form requesting deferment of repayment at the start of the school or service year. Cancellation forms must then be submitted at the completion of the school or service year. Failure to file forms in a timely manner is equivalent to not making timely payments and can result in late fee assessment and can also negatively affect your personal credit rating. For more information on cancellation benefits, or to obtain a cancellation form, visit the SUNY SLSCís website at http://slsc.albany.edu.

Q: What are my death and total disability discharge benefits?

The outstanding loan balance may be discharged in the event of death or permanent and total disability of the borrower. Please contact the SUNY SLSC regarding the death cancellation process. For information on eligibility and filing for total and permanent disability discharge, visit http://www.disabilitydischarge.com. The U.S. Department of Education determines a borrower's eligibility to receive total and permanent disability discharge.

Q: What are the consequences of delinquency and default?

Allowing your account to become delinquent can seriously affect your personal credit rating. Should you default; requests for transcripts will not be honored. Should you attempt to register at another SUNY school, your registration will be blocked and you will not be eligible for any additional Federal Title IV aid, including Federal Perkins Loans, Federal Family Educational Loans, William D. Ford Federal Direct Loans, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG), Federal Pell Grant, TEACH Grants, and Federal Work Study. If repayment is not made according to the terms of your promissory note, regulations also allow for the referral of delinquent accounts to collection agencies and to an attorney for litigation. You will be held responsible for the entire resulting penalty, collection, and litigation costs as provided in your promissory note. Also, under NYS Tax Law, the SUNY SLSC is entitled to intercept NYS income tax refunds of defaulted borrowers.

Q: How is bankruptcy handled?

Pursuant to the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, education loans, such as Perkins loans, are not dischargeable in bankruptcy unless repayment of the loan will create an undue hardship for the debtor or the debtor’s dependents. In such a case, the debtor can request student loan discharge consideration through an undue hardship petition.

Q: What is loan rehabilitation?

A loan rehabilitation program is available to eligible defaulted Perkins loan borrowers. To successfully rehabilitate a defaulted loan, the borrower must make nine, on time, consecutive, monthly payments in an amount, which will be determined by the SUNY SLSC and/or its agent. After successful rehabilitation, the SUNY SLSC will instruct the credit bureau to remove the default from the borrowerís credit history, and the borrower will be afforded the balance of benefits under the original promissory note. A Perkins loan may be successfully rehabilitated only once. Perkins loans which have been litigated are not eligible for loan rehabilitation.

Q: Are debt management strategies available?

To help ensure that you receive all loan information timely, you must notify the SUNY SLSC of any changes in your name, address, phone number or employment situation. Read all information carefully and keep your loan records accurate and organized. Contact the SUNY SLSC immediately if you have trouble making payments. There may be additional repayment options available to you during times of difficulty. You should develop a budget to help you manage your debt including your student loan payments, credit card debt, and other living expenses.

Q: Can I consolidate my loan?

If you have student loan debt, you may want to contact a lender to consolidate all of your eligible loans into one.
Advantages:
  • Up to 30 years for repayment (depending on your loan balance)
  • One monthly payment
  • May lower the interest rate on some or all of your loan debt
Disadvantages:
  • Extending the term beyond the 10 years increases total interest paid
  • Loss of grace period
  • Loss of certain deferment and forbearance options
  • Loss of all Perkins Loan cancellations provisions

Q: What is the U.S. Department of Education's Office of the Ombudsman?

If you are unable to resolve a dispute with the SUNY SLSC concerning your loan, you may contact the U.S. Department of Education's Office of the Ombudsman using the following information:
Internet:
https://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/disputes/prepare/contact-ombudsman
or
http://fsahelp.ed.gov

Telephone
(877) 557-2575

Mail:
Office of the Ombudsman,
U.S. Dept. of Education,
FSA Ombudsman 4th Floor
830 First Street, NE
Washington, D.C. 20202-5144

Q: What is the NATIONAL STUDENT LOAN DATA SYSTEM (NSLDS)?

The NSLDS is the U.S. Department of Education's central database for student aid. NSLDS provides you with a centralized, integrated view of all of your Title IV loans and Pell grants. The NSLDS Student Access Website is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Internet: http://www.nslds.ed.gov       Telephone: (800) 4-FED-AID

Q: Can anyone else gain access to my loan information?

Due to various State and Federal laws governing confidentiality of records, we cannot disclose any information about an account to anyone other than the borrower without the express written permission of the borrower.

Q: What if I have further questions?

If you have any questions or need additional information, you may contact the SUNY SLSC by telephone at (518) 525-2626 or by email at slsc@albany.edu. You may also access the SUNY SLSCís website at http://slsc.albany.edu.