COHEAO Spark: Proposed Perkins Language Included in Manager’s Amendment

July 16, 2018

Dear COHEAO Members,

We wanted to provide you an update on last week’s mark-up of the Fiscal Year 2019 House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education  Appropriations bill. We were excited to see that a  proposal advocated for by COHEAO regarding the continued servicing of Perkins loans was included in the manager’s amendment that was added to the bill during the mark-up.  The amendment permits the Department of Education to pay schools to service Perkins loans, filling a funding void.  The same proposal was included in the Senate’s version of the legislation approved by its Appropriations Committee last month. 

Since Administrative Cost Allowance for Perkins Loan servicing was based on new loan originations, schools can no longer fund Perkins servicing by using a portion of their revolving funds.  This provision is designed to have the Department use funds appropriated for all federal student loan servicing to pay for school servicing.  ACA can still be charged against the other campus-based programs based on disbursements.

The language reads as follows:

Page 127 of the bill, after the final section (before the short title), insert the following:

“Sec. 308.  From amounts appropriated for the servicing of Federal student loans, the Secretary of Education may make payments for student loan servicing to an institution of higher education that services outstanding Federal Perkins Loans.”

The next steps are for the full Senate and House to consider the legislation, after which a final version will be worked out and passed into law. With nearly identical language included in the Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill, the provision should make it into the final legislation whenever it is passed by Congress.  Final passage will eventually occur, but could be delayed for weeks or months due to differences on other issues.  

COHEAO worked closely for months with Perkins supporters as well as key House Appropriations Committee and Education and the Workforce Committee members on this provision, including the staffs of Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and ranking Democrat Bobby Scott (D-VA), all of whom agreed to it.  Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), an Appropriations Committee member, took the lead in getting this language included in the House bill, working with Appropriations Committee Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK) and Ranking Democrat Nita Lowey (R-NY) to include it in the managers’ amendment.  Pocan also mentioned the Perkins Extension Act during his remarks at the Committee mark-up and urged the Committee to work to find a way to extend the loan program.

In the Senate, COHEAO worked with the Appropriations Labor, HHS and Education Subcommittee, chaired by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), who included the provision in his managers’ amendment to their version of the appropriations bill.  Sens. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) led the way in working for the provision, which was supported by the University of California and the University of Wisconsin, along with other institutions. 

COHEAO will advocate for the provision to be included in the final appropriations legislation while also working with the Department of Education to ensure it follows the will of Congress.

Please email Jared Solomon with any questions.

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