The Federal Perkins Loan Program provides low-interest loans to help students finance the costs of postsecondary education. All repayments of Perkins Loans are reinvested in the University's revolving loan fund. In other words, repayment of your Perkins Loan allows future students similar opportunities you were granted.
The repayment of the Perkins Loan program is administered by a third party, ECSI, on behalf of Cleveland State University. Completion of an Exit Loan Interview is required when a student graduates, withdraws from the University, or drops below half-time enrollment (less than 6 credit hours).
You will need to have the following information available prior to completing your exit interview:
- Your Social Security Number
- Your Driver's License Number
- Name, Address, Telephone Number of Three (3) References
For more information on the Exit Interview please visit the ECSI.net website.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Perkins Repayment Program
Why do I have to do an exit interview?
All Federal Perkins Loan borrowers are required to complete an exit interview prior to leaving campus. As a result of leaving campus, your loan file will be transferred to our third party administrator, ECSI.
What is the purpose of an exit interview?
To inform you of your privileges and obligations under the Federal Perkins Loan Program, as well as to bring your loan file up-to-date for ECSI.
I am trying to login to ECSI’s website but they are asking for a "School Code". What is Cleveland State’s "School Code"?
CSU’s school code is P7.
When does repayment start?
Repayment of your Perkins Loan is required to begin at the end of your six-month grace period following your separation from the University.
How long do I have to repay my loan?
The length of repayment is determined by the total amount borrowed, the interest rate, and the repayment amount. Federal Perkins Loans have a maximum ten-year repayment period.
What is the interest rate?
The interest rate for Federal Perkins Loans is 5%.
What if I plan to continue my education?
You are eligible for Student Deferment as long as you are enrolled at least half-time in an eligible course of study at any eligible institution.
Can I just tell you my plans now?
If it has been determined that you are required to complete an exit interview at this time, the exit interview should be completed now. You can notify ECSI of your enrollment status at the proper time by using a Student Deferment form, which they will use to determine your eligibility for deferment.
How will student deferment eligibility be determined?
A Student Deferment form must be filed with ECSI at least once a year for each year you are in an eligible status.
Can you give me the student deferment form now?
You should request the Student Deferment form directly from ECSI after they have sent you their acknowledgment statement. This acknowledgment statement indicates that your loan account information is established on their system. All correspondence, as well as loan payments are to be directed to ECSI, not to Cleveland State University.
Can I consolidate my Federal Perkins Loan with my other student loans?
Although this is an option, you should consider that the interest rate on the Federal Perkins Loan is 5% and other loans may have variable interest rates that may be higher. Once consolidated, you will lose the possibility of any future deferment, should you continue your education.
How can I contact ECSI?
Once your loan account information is established at ECSI, you may contact them at:
181 Montour Run Road
Coraopolis, PA 15108
Will I have to provide any private information to ECSI?
The records of ECSI are based on loan account numbers. In nearly all cases, the basis for your account number will be your social security number. It is extremely important to include your loan account number on all correspondence to ECSI.
What is MOST important?
Complete the exit interview, notify ECSI of changes to your address and/or phone number, provide necessary documentation as required, and make timely payments.
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 using one of the following methods:
- Logging onto ECSI’s website at www.ECSI.net
- Contacting ECSI directly at 1-888-549-3274
- Contacting the Perkins Loan Office at Cleveland State University at 216-687-2069
What happens if I lose my job or get into other financial trouble?
You can apply for a temporary postponement of your monthly payments for up to one year at a time, not to exceed three years. A postponement is referred to as either a deferment or forbearance. A deferment defers principal, interest and all other fees on the account; forbearance defers principal ONLY, interest and other fees will continue to accrue and need to be paid.
As a Perkins Loan borrower, you may qualify for a deferment or forbearance if you fall within one of the following categories:
- Financial Hardship
- Service in the military, AmeriCorps, military mobilization or other national emergency.
- Poor Health or Disability
- Half-Time Student (6 credit hours or less)
- Have another federal student loan in deferment or forbearance status
Contact ECSI and ask to apply for a deferment or forbearance. Your request must be writing, by email, fax or letter.
Can my Perkins loan ever be canceled?
Your loan can be canceled if you die or become totally and permanently disabled. You may also qualify for up to 50% cancellation if you served in the Armed Forces in a hostile or dangerous area, and up to 100% cancellation under certain conditions such as:
- Full-time Teacher in a low-income community or in a field short on teachers
- Full-time Special Education Teacher
- Full-time Librarian
- Full-time provider of early intervention services, provider in a child or family service agency, or Speech Language Pathologist
- Full-time Law Enforcement, Corrections Officer or Public Defense Lawyer
- Full-time Nurse, Medical Technician or Fire Fighter
- Full-time staff member in a Head Start, Pre-K or Child Care Program
- Volunteer with VISTA or Peace Corps
- Military Service
Tell me about the Federal Perkins Loan Forgiveness for Teachers
For every full, consecutive, uninterrupted year of full-time employment, in any of the eligible professions listed below, you may qualify for cancellation benefits on your Federal Perkins Loan. You must file a deferment form at the beginning of each full year of employment and a cancellation form at the end of each full year. Cancellation percentages are processed as follows: 15% for each of the 1st and 2nd years, 20% for each of the 3rd and 4th years, and 30% for the 5th year. It is possible to have 100% of your loan cancelled over a five year period.
Eligible Teaching Related Positions
- Teacher in a low-income school eligible for funding under Chapter 1 of the Education Consolidation and Improvement Act of 1981.
- If borrower teaches at a school that does not qualify as a low-income school in a subsequent year, the borrower remains eligible for loan cancellation as long as the borrower continues to teach full-time at the school.
- Teacher of handicapped students, including teacher of infants, toddlers, and children or youth with disabilities in a public or non-profit school or agency.
- Infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities are defined in Section 602(a)(1) and 672(2) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
- Teacher of mathematics, science, foreign languages, bilingual education, or any field of expertise determined by the state education agency to have a shortage of qualified teachers.
- It is the borrower's responsibility to notify the lender of shortage areas recognized by their state.
- Teaching service in a school or location, operated by an education service agency that has been determined to have a high concentration of students from low-income families.
- Upon making a properly documented written request to the holder of the loan, you are entitled to have up to 100% of the original principal amount of your Federal Perkins Loan cancelled for qualifying teaching service that includes August 14, 2008, or begins on or after that date, in a school or location, operated by an education service agency, that has been determined to have a high concentration of students from low-income families. An official Directory of the designated low-income schools and locations operated by educational service agencies is published annually by the Department of Education.
Other Cancellation Benefits:
For every full year of full-time employment as a Head Start member you are eligible to have 15% of your loan cancelled. You must file a deferment form at the beginning of each year of employment and a cancellation form at the end of each year. You may be eligible for cancellation of 100% of your loan.
Upon making a properly documented written request to ECSI or Cleveland State, you are entitled to have up to 100% of the original principal loan amount cancelled for qualifying service that includes August 14, 2008, or begins on or after that date, as a full-time staff member in a Pre-Kindergarten or Child Care program that is licensed or regulated by the State and that is operated for a period comparable to a full school year in the locality if your salary is not more than the salary of a comparable employee of the local education agency.
Please keep in mind that this information is provided as a reference tool only. If you have any questions regarding a particular cancellation benefit, please call 216-687-2069 and we will provide you with a copy of the Federal Regulations as printed by the Department of Education.
Are there any other options for me?
You can download a request for deferment, forbearance or cancellation from the ECSI website. Log on to www.ecsi.net. Select the Students tab at the bottom of the page. Then select the Download Forms tab at the bottom of the page. Then select the type of request form you need. Certain conditions must be met for each of these categories. If you are not sure which to apply for you can review a list and the brief explanation for each at ECSI's web site.
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. CSU follows due diligence guidelines regulated by the federal government that include a schedule of late notices sent from ECSI, phone call attempts and past due notices sent by the Perkins Loan Repayment Office. Borrowers' Perkins loan statuses are reported monthly to the national credit reporting agencies. Delinquent accounts will be reported as such. It is the Perkins loan borrower's responsibility to keep all appropriate parties 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 to contact or locate them, or to resolve the delinquency, will be assigned to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office for collections. 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 the Attorney General’s Office, you must communicate directly with the AGO to resolve the debt. Do not call ECSI or the Perkins Loan Office unless you are only requesting contact information for the Attorney General’s Office. Note: There is no statute of limitations on a Perkins loan. A Perkins loan is NOT dischargeable in bankruptcy.
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 Repayment Office immediately! We will assist you with payment resolution unless you have already been assigned to a collection agency.
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 Repayment 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 the National Credit Reporting Agencies, 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.
What are my rights as a borrower?
- To repay all or part of the loan(s) without penalty at any time,
- A grace period after graduation or discontinuing education,
- Deferment of payment, if eligible,
- Partial/full cancellation of loan, if eligible.
What are my responsibilities as a Perkins Loan borrower?
- To make payments on time.
- To notify ECSI if a payment cannot be made by the due date.
- To notify ECSI regarding changes in your name, address, phone number or social security number.
- To file appropriate forms, such as deferment or cancellation, in a timely manner.
- To understand that failure to repay your student loan will have serious consequences, as required by the Department of Education:, including:
- Referral to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office for collections
- Report the past due status of your loan to the national credit bureau reporting agencies.
- Loss of eligibility for deferment or cancellation benefits.
- Loss of eligibility for further Federal financial aid.
- Hold will be placed on registration and academic transcripts.