Perkins Loans Expire

The federal Perkins Loan program expired on Saturday after key Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) blocked legislation to extend it, Inside Higher Ed reported. The lapse will leave approximately 1,500 colleges and universities and 500,000 students without access to an important source of financial aid.

Lawmakers in both the House and Senate had introduced bipartisan legislation to extend the program for an additional two years. The bipartisan bill was identical to the bill approved in 2015, which the program had been operating under. The legislation, however, stalled in committee.

On Thursday, bill sponsor Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) asked that extension legislation be considered under unanimous consent but the request was blocked by Sen. Alexander, chairman of the Senate education committee. Alexander had previously called for Congress to end the program in order to simplify federal financial aid. His office described the 2015 deal as a managed shutdown of the Perkins program.

On the House side, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) had said on the floor that there were no plans to vote on the companion bill.


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