House Passes Bipartisan 2-Year Perkins Loan Progam Extension
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02) released the following statement after the Federal Perkins Loan Program Extension Act of 2015 passed the House reauthorizing Perkins Loans through Sept. 30, 2017. Rep. Pocan introduced the Higher Extension Act of 2015, which passed the House, along with his colleague Rep. Bishop (R-MI). Despite Rep. Pocan’s efforts in the House, the Senate blocked the bill and allowed the program to expire on September 30, 2015.
“The Perkins Loans program has helped students in Wisconsin and all across the country struggling to find a way to pay for college,” Rep. Pocan said. “While this bipartisan bill is not as expansive as I would like, I am pleased that students will still be able to access much-needed federal financial aid for another two years. After months of working on this issue with education groups, students, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I am relieved to see that this critical program will continue. I will tirelessly work with my colleagues to ensure Perkins Loans are available to both graduate and undergraduate students in the years to come.”
“For approximately 16,000 UW System students a year, Perkins loans have been an important source of financial aid as they pursue a degree,” said UW System President Ray Cross. “We appreciate the leadership and partnership of Rep. Pocan and the Wisconsin Congressional delegation in helping continue this critical program for our students with financial need.”
Since the inception of the Federal Perkins Loan program in 1958, over $28 billion dollars in loans have been made to students. The Federal Perkins Loan is a need-based loan, which fosters access to higher education for low-income students by providing low interest loans to students in need. Perkins Loans borrowers are predominantly from lower income families and are often the first in their family to attend college.
In June 2015, Rep. Pocan introduced a bipartisan resolution with Rep. Messer (R-IN) and 56 cosponsors in support of Perkins Loans. In September 2015, Rep. Pocan also introduced the Higher Education Extension Act of 2015 with Rep. Bishop (R-MI) to extend the program for a year, which passed the House, but was blocked in the Senate. Over 33 groups and higher educational institutions supported Perkins Loans reauthorization.