Recent action in the U.S. House of Representatives has led some to believe there may be some hope for the Perkins Loan Program, which will expire without congressional action on September 30, 2015.
Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN) and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), both members of the House Education Committee, introduced a bipartisan resolution on June 3 that expresses “support for the continuation of the Perkins Loan Program.” The resolution has quickly gathered momentum with 21 cosponsors in the short time since its introduction, and with seven Republicans and 14 Democrats, the resolution supporting the long-running campus-based aid program features encouraging bipartisan support.
“I am committed to ensuring programs like Perkins are around for years to come so that the cost of a college degree doesn’t prevent someone from pursuing their dream of earning one,” Messer noted in a press release in early June.
His Democratic colleague Pocan had similar accolades for the program. “Perkins Loans are an essential aspect of ensuring college is both accessible and affordable for all students. I am proud to introduce this resolution with Rep. Messer to show bipartisan support for preserving the Perkins Loan Program.”
While the resolution itself would not reauthorize the program if passed, its introduction formally acknowledges the building support for the Perkins Loan Program in Congress.
In addition to the resolution, some representatives are circulating a “Dear Colleague” letter, authored by Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), encouraging the members of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, the committee with jurisdiction over the Perkins Loan Program, to reauthorize the program.
“We are encouraged by the recent uptick in congressional support to save the Perkins Loan Program,” said NASFAA President Justin Draeger. “This is as much clamoring on the Hill related to Perkins as we have seen in recent memory. Now is the time to act and apply pressure on Congress to keep this valuable program. Members can really make a difference here.”
With steady growth in public support for Perkins in Congress, be sure to take time to encourage your member of Congress to support the Perkins Loan Program and share your stories of why the Perkins Loan Program is important to you and to the students at your institution. You can encourage your representative to sign on to the Dear Colleague letter and cosponsor the Messer and Pocan resolution.
You can find information on how to contact your member of Congress on the House’s Find Your Representative page.
NASFAA continues to advocate for the Perkins Loan Program and will continue to monitor action in both the House of Representatives and the Senate to save this important student aid program.
Publication Date: 7/6/2015