By Kris Zavoli
Although some US Senators are still pushing for stand-alone renewal, as of now, the Perkins Loan program is winding down with the possibility of being included in a comprehensive Higher Education Act reauthorization. Here is a small write up from Politico Morning Education.
FIRST LOOK: SENATORS PUSH FOR PERKINS RENEWAL: Fifty-four senators – 11 of them Republicans – have written Senate leaders to ask the chamber to take up the House-passed extension of the Perkins loan program, which expired September 30. Because Congress let the program expire, “thousands of current and future students face uncertainty and hundreds of institutions are struggling to find another way to help their neediest students afford their education,” the letter says.
– Sen. Lamar Alexander has opposed the extension because he wants Perkins to be considered in the context of the Higher Education Act, and Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) said she has “not heard or seen any sign of a change of heart” from the HELP Committee chairman as proponents keep up the drumbeat for extending Perkins. But colleagues in the Senate are “increasingly recognizing that Higher Education Act reauthorization is not something that’s going to be moved in the next weeks, or even a couple of months,” Baldwin said, so she argues that letting the Perkins program expire will harm students in the meantime. The letter: http://1.usa.gov/1kSOmpo.
NASFAA has a good page with Q&A: What We Do (and Don’t) Know About Perkins Loan Program Wind-down that contains details about how the wind-down affects different groups of borrowers.
Future of the Program (FUT)
FUT-Q1: Why did the Senate allow the Perkins Loan Program to expire?
FUT-A1: Sen. Alexander contended that extending the Perkins program would simply perpetuate an overly-complex federal student aid system and that an extension would be in direct conflict with the tenets of his bipartisan Financial Aid Simplification and Transparency (FAST) Act. As a reminder, in addition to simplifying the Federal Student Aid application process, the FAST Act also called for a system with only one grant and one loan.
FUT-Q2: Will Congress add the Perkins Loan program back to Title IV through reauthorization?
FUT-A2: Even though a one-year extension was blocked on the Senate floor, there is still an active group of Senators who continue to push for a one-year extension. It is possible that Perkins could be considered again during the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA); however, the failure to pass a short-term extension to keep the program does not bode well for its future.