A Bright Ray of Hope
The Perpetual Education Fund (PEF) was established in 2001 during general conference when Gordon B. Hinckley, then President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, announced a “bold initiative” to help youth in developing areas "rise out of the poverty they and generations before them have known." He spoke of returned missionaries and other ambitious young men and women who have great capacity but meager opportunities:
“I believe the Lord does not wish to see His people condemned to live in poverty. I believe He would have the faithful enjoy the good things of the earth.” President Hinckley proposed a solution to this widespread poverty: “In an effort to remedy this [lack of opportunity], we propose a plan … which we believe is inspired by the Lord. … We shall call it the Perpetual Education Fund.” He further declared, “Education is the key to opportunity” (“The Perpetual Education Fund,” Ensign, May 2001, 52–53).
The PEF program is patterned after the Perpetual Emigration Fund, which helped more than 30,000 early Church members journey to the Salt Lake Valley from Europe in the mid to late 1800s.
The program is funded through contributions of Church members and others who support its mission. It is a revolving resource in which money is loaned to an individual to help pay for training or advanced education. When a student has graduated and is working, he or she then pays back the loan at a low interest rate. Repayments allow for future loans.
“Today’s world is competitive, more than it’s ever been. I believe men and women need to get a type of education which will enable them to meet the exigencies [urgent needs] of life. … Men and women need to be prepared for a vastly broader scope than we’ve ever had before. ... [The Perpetual Education Fund] is a fund that will go far into the future” (Thomas S. Monson, in “16th President Fields Questions from Media,” Church News, Feb. 4, 2008)
Frequently Asked Questions
The following information provides answers to common questions about the Perpetual Education Fund program.
Who may apply for a PEF loan?
PEF loan applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Be a temple-worthy member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- Be 18 years of age or older.
- If a young single adult, be enrolled and active in an institute of religion (married students and those over 30 are not required to attend institute)
- Live and attend school in a PEF-approved country. Currently, PEF is not available in the United States or Canada.
PEF loans are available in the following countries:
Antigua and Barbuda
Papua New Guinea
St. Kitts and Nevis
Trinidad and Tobago
How do I apply for a PEF loan?
Information on applying for a PEF loan can be found on the Apply for a Loan page.
What can PEF loans be used for?
- Technical, vocational, or professional education that leads to a viable job in the local area (see "What is the PEF Preferred List?" on the Apply for a Loan Page).
- Tuition, books, and fees, such as graduation, licensing, or certification costs.
When and how is this loan repaid?
- Small monthly payments are made during school.
- Six months after graduation (or withdrawal), higher monthly payments begin based on an established schedule and a small amount of interest.
- The Perpetual Education Fund also reduces the amount you owe on your loan when you (1) get good grades, (2) graduate, (3) achieve your employment goal, and (4) make loan payments on time. These performance incentives can reduce the balance of the PEF loan by up to 40%.
How are contributions used?
Contributions to the fund and repayments from existing participants are used to make new loans to qualified students.
How can I help?
Many people around the world have expressed their support for the mission of the Perpetual Education Fund and often wonder what they can do to contribute and become part of this worldwide effort. The Opportunities to Serve section explains how you can help.
Who directs the Perpetual Education Fund?
The Perpetual Education Fund Board includes members of the First Presidency, and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and other General Authorities and general auxiliary leaders.
Area priesthood leaders direct the local PEF program in each approved country.
“The program is priesthood-based, and that is why it will succeed” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Reaching Down to Lift Another,” Ensign, Nov. 2001, 53).