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Congressman Mark Pocan

Representing the 2nd District of Wisconsin

Pocan, UW Students and Administrators Call on the Senate to Immediately Reauthorize Perkins Loan Program

Oct 14, 2015
Press Release

Washington, D.C – Today, U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) stood with University of Wisconsin-Madison students and administrators to call on the Senate to immediately pass the Higher Education Extension Act of 2015 to prevent the Perkins Loan Program from lapsing any longer. Rep. Pocan introduced the Higher Education 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.

“There is no excuse for the Senate to let Perkins Loans expire and turn their back on the thousands of students all across the country who rely on them to make college accessible,” said Rep. Mark Pocan. “Members of the House were able to come together in a bipartisan fashion to pass a reauthorization of the Perkins Loan program. By denying access to these low-interest loans, students and families are left with very few options to cover college expenses. With skyrocketing college tuition costs, Congress should be doing everything it can to ensure students can attend college without being weighed down with mountains of debt.”

The program, which fosters access to higher education for low-income students by providing low interest loans to students in need, expired on September 30th. The Senate must act soon so new students and families who are applying for financial aid for the upcoming school year are able to access this vital program. Students who have previously received Perkins loans during the 2015-2016 academic year or before will be eligible to be grandfathered into the program and receive loans through the end of their academic program or up to 5 years if they stay at the same school and do not change their major.

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.