Bipartisan Bill Would Extend Perkins By Two Years
With only months to go before it expires, a bipartisan group of lawmakers on Wednesday introduced a bill to extend the Perkins Loan Program for two more years.
The Perkins Loan Extension Act of 2017
was introduced by Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Mark Pocan (D-WI) Louise Slaughter (D-NY), John Duncan (R-TN), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA).
The bill would extend the Perkins Loan Program for a period of two years. Should Congress fail to extend the program, it will expire on September 30, 2017. According to a press release
announcing the bill, around 500,000 students would lose financial aid if Perkins were to go away.
“Perkins Loans are an important resource for low income families in my district who are pursuing their higher education dreams,” said Stefanik, in a statement. “We must ensure that low income students have access to a quality education, and the Perkins Loan program is a critical tool to help them succeed. I urge my colleagues to support this bipartisan legislation.”
The bill has the support of numerous higher education groups, including NASFAA.
“The Perkins Loan Extension Act of 2017 provides a much-needed continuation of a program that effectively leverages institutional and federal dollars,” NASFAA President Justin Draeger said in a statement. “We understand that some lawmakers are interested in streamlining the student aid programs, but it is vital that such a process not be done piecemeal. Sunsetting Perkins without addressing the funding gap future students would experience would be negligent. NASFAA will continue to support this bill - and all other Perkins extensions - until Congress can tackle comprehensive reform that ensures no students are left without adequate student aid funding.”
The bill is a simple two-year extension of the previous extension of the program in 2015, meaning graduate and professional students will regain eligibility for a year before becoming ineligible again the following year. If enacted, the extension would extend Perkins through September 30, 2019.
Publication Date: 5/18/2017