Thousands of Students Who Rely on Perkins Loans May Soon Have to Look Elsewhere

"It's been almost two years since Congress decided to let the Perkins loan program ride into the sunset, but some lawmakers are having second thoughts as the Sept. 30 cutoff for making new loans looms," according to Credible.

"We’ve been here before. Congress let the Perkins loan program, which serves students with 'exceptional financial need,' expire on Sept. 30, 2015. But three months later, lawmakers had a change of heart and passed legislation restoring the program for undergraduates at participating schools for two more years (graduate students got a shorter reprieve, and lost access to Perkins loans on Sept. 30, 2016).

The Federal Perkins Loan Program Extension Act of 2015 was intended as a compromise that would allow schools to phase the program out while Congress worked on more comprehensive changes intended to simplify the provision of federal student loans.

But those changes have been slow in coming. Legislation that would have created a 'one grant, one loan' system stalled in 2015. Republican leaders now say they’ll pursue such changes as part of the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. But many observers don’t expect Congress to make any headway on reauthorization until next year.

So in May, six members of Congress — three Republicans, and three Democrats — got behind legislation in the House that would extend the Perkins program for undergraduates for another two years. New York Republican Elise Stefanik, the bill’s sponsor, said 500,000 students still rely on Perkins loans — and many are from families with household income of less than $30,000.

... The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) supports an extension of the Perkins loan program — sunsetting the program 'without addressing the funding gap future students would experience would be negligent,' the group said in support of Stefanik’s bill."

NASFAA's "Headlines" section highlights media coverage of financial aid to help members stay up to date with the latest news. Inclusion in Today's News does not imply endorsement of the material or guarantee the accuracy of information presented.

 

Publication Date: 8/15/2017

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