The Federal Perkins Loan Program – 2016 and Beyond
On December 18, 2015, H.R.3594 – Federal Perkins Loan Program Extension Act of 2015 was signed into law (PL No: 114-105) extending the Federal Perkins Loan Program through September 30, 2017. On February 17, 2016, The Department of Education issued DCL ID: GEN-16-05 Subject – Extension of the Federal Perkins Loan Program providing guidance to lending institutions.
With the extension in place, we now turn our efforts to ensuring that the loan program is included in the reauthorization of the higher education act. While work is underway, there is no set timetable for completion of the higher education act reauthorization at this time.
On March 1, 2016, a bipartisan coalition of Congressional Representatives circulated a letter to House Members urging support of the Campus-Based Aid Programs, including Perkins Loans. The effort is led by Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) and Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY), along with two of Perkins’ strongest champions, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI). The letter will be addressed to Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), Chairman of the House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee, and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), his Democratic counterpart.
The letter has a clear and simple ask: “We request that the SEOG program be funded at $757 million, and that the FWS program be funded at $1 billion. We further ask that the Perkins Loan program, which has been extended through September 30, 2017, maintain its funding so that its structure can be fully considered during the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.”
COHEAO has worked extensively with Congressional Members and their staffers to educate them on the benefits of the program. We have created and presented the Campus Flex Proposal as a way to modernize the program and integrate it into the simplification of the financial aid process. The main component of Campus Flex is to streamline all campus-based programs (Federal Perkins, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants-FSEOG and Federal Work Study Program-FWS) into one single appropriation. The institution would then determine how funds are allocated to these programs based on the needs of their students. This allows flexibility and puts the decision making process with the institution. Click here to view the COHEAO Campus Flex Proposal.
What You Can Do to Support Perkins Now: Follow the new disclosure and graduate student requirements and make sure your institution is lending ALL available Perkins Loan funds in the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 academic years. Our positive momentum and Congressional support will evaporate if schools are not lending their funds. Perkins supporters should also keep their colleagues in other relevant offices on campus (i.e. financial aid, government relations, president’s office, etc.) apprised on the future of the program. Click here to view Perkins Loans – Past, Present and Future and Top Ten Reasons Why the Perkins Program is Good for Students and Institutions.