The U.S. Department of Education has the Federal Perkins loan program, which offers low interest loans (5%) to help American college students finance their higher education. Students attending accredited colleges use it to help pay for their post-secondary education. It is a need-based student loan and billions of dollars are allocated each year to help this program. It is named in honor of Carl D. Perkins, who used to be a member of the United States House of Representatives.These government loans are released only through schools, not directly. That makes your institution the lender and all funds are disbursed through this channel. The government lends to the college and the college lends to the students and when the students start paying back, the college pays back the government. They are not as common as most other loans as the Stafford loans and it is not uncommon for students to miss out on them simply because funds have run out. So if you want a Federal Perkins loan, you better apply early and keep your fingers crossed.Like most student loans, the Federal Perkins loan has to get clearance from the FAFSA – Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Loans are offered to American citizens with valid social security numbers only if they prove a genuine financial need. Expected Family Contribution, (EFC) is also taken into consideration. The EFC score will decide how much the student is eligible for. Plus there are other eligibility factors, like the student has to perform academically and the loan is offered only for certain degrees and education programs. But the loans don’t need a co-signer and can be applied for even by persons with a bad credit record.The Federal Perkins loan has a waiver scheme for those who engage in teaching after their education. A fixed percentage is waived off every year – 15% for the first year, 15% for the second year, 20% for the third year. Since these Government Loans are subsidized, the loan has a nine month grace period and interest does not accrue till the borrower starts paying back the loan. This makes the Federal Perkins Loan a very borrower friendly loan with a lot of advantages.