A need-based, low-interest loan available to students rather than their parents. The amount of the loan is determined by each college and is based on the expected family contribution. The student will be held responsible for this loan, not the parent. Repayment doesn’t begin until after a student graduates, falls below half-time student status, or leaves college. After graduating, a student typically has a nine-month grace period during which interest doesn't accrue. Perkins loans offer low interest rates to students and can be repaid within ten years.