Battle Looms Over Perkins Loans

"Two years after Congress let the federal Perkins loan program expire — and then revived it two-and-half-months later — lawmakers face another looming deadline over how to deal with the decades-old program," Politico's Morning Education reports.
"The program, under which more than 315,000 students received low-interest loans based on financial need in the past fiscal year, is slated to expire on Sept. 30 unless Congress acts.
There’s already a bipartisan bill in the House to extend the program for another two years — and colleges and universities and other student aid advocates are expected to ramp up their lobbying efforts to support it in the coming weeks. The bill, H.R. 2482 (115), introduced in May by Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), has so far picked up 77 co-sponsors in the House (59 Democrats and 18 Republicans).
But passing an extension through Congress before the end of September is a tall order. Some GOP lawmakers have previously opposed keeping Perkins loans, which account for less than 1 percent of all federal student aid, as they seek to streamline student loan programs. Among the most significant: Sen. Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Senate education committee, who blocked a full extension of Perkins loans in 2015 and then agreed to a compromise to revive a scaled-back version. Alexander pitched the two-year extension in 2015 as a phase-out of the program, and it even included a requirement that colleges notify students that the program is coming to an end this fall. ...
Justin Draeger, president and CEO of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, tells Morning Education that he’s pushing for an extension of Perkins but acknowledges the outlook for the program is somewhat grim. 'If we were going up a steep hill the last time, it’s sort of like we’re going up a wall this time,' Draeger said."
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Publication Date: 8/9/2017

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