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Congressman Mark Pocan

Representing the 2nd District of Wisconsin

Pocan’s Effort to Reauthorize Perkins Loans Blocked in the Senate

Sep 30, 2015
Press Release
Pocan Blasts Sen. Lamar Alexander for Denying Students Much Needed Financial Aid

Washington, D.C - U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) released the following statement after Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) blocked the passage of the Higher Education Extension Act of 2015, effectively halting the reauthorization of Perkins Loans. Pocan introduced the House version of this bill along with his colleague Rep. Bishop (R-MI), which passed Monday. This legislation would have ensured students have access to this important loan program for another year. 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. 

“Senator Alexander has turned his back on the more than 500,000 students who rely on the Perkins Loan program to help pay for college,” said Rep. Mark Pocan. “Members of the House were able to come together in a bipartisan fashion, along with the support of hundreds of colleges and universities, to pass a reauthorization of the Perkins Loan program, but today one Senator from Tennessee felt it necessary to undo all of that. This is exactly why the American people are so frustrated with Congress. There is no program to take the place of the Perkins Loan, so the Senator has effectively cut off this avenue for students struggling to find financial aid for college.”

In June 2015, Rep. Pocan introduced a bipartisan resolution with Rep. Messer (R-IN) and 56 cosponsors in support of Perkins Loans. Earlier this month, Rep. Pocan led a press conference with Rep. Slaughter (D-NY), education advocacy organizations and students to urge Congress to reauthorize the program. Rep. Louise Slaughter also authored a letter with 94 bipartisan signatures in support of this important program. Over 33 groups and higher educational institutions supported this bill’s reauthorization.

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