Broad Coalition Seeks Perkins Loan Revival

Hundreds of colleges and other higher education advocates on Friday called on congressional leaders to grant a one-year extension of the federal Perkins Loan Program, which expired on October 1. Perkins, the oldest federal student loan program, made college possible for millions of students who would otherwise have been unable to attend or been forced to take on costly private loans.

In September, House lawmakers passed legislation (H.R. 3594) that would have renewed the program before the end of the 2015 fiscal year. But the Senate failed to take action on the measure at the urging of Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), allowing the program to lapse. Sen. Alexander, chair of the chamber's education committee, has said he wants to eliminate the Perkins program as part of an effort to simplify and streamline federal government's student loan programs. When Congress returns following the Thanksgiving holiday, legislators will resume negotiations over how to fund the federal government beyond Dec. 11.

AACRAO joined a coalition of 535 colleges and universities and 52 other higher education organizations last week to urge lawmakers to advance legislation to revive Perkins loans as a stand-alone measure or attach it to a government funding bill. The proposed extension would prolong authorization of the program for one year to allow Congress to consider it within the framework of the pending reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.

"Without an extension," the groups write, "100,000 students who would be eligible will be denied access to the program and forced to find alternative (and more expensive) financing or forego their educations altogether."


Related Links

Letter to Congress in Support of the Perkins Loan Program