A Letter from COHEAO on Advocacy Efforts on the Future of Perkins Loans

August 17, 2015 · by mlivolsi · Spark Notes

August 14, 2015
Dear Colleague:

Congress is in summer recess, yet the efforts to save the Perkins Loan Program continue. We are providing this update to highlight the ongoing activities being conducted by COHEAO and the higher education community to Save Perkins Now!

On June 3rd, Congressman Luke Messer (R-IN), a key member of the House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce, introduced H.Res.294 – “Expressing support for the continuation of the Perkins Loan Program”. Congressman Mark Pocan (D-WI), also a Committee member, immediately signed on as lead cosponsor to this bi-partisan resolution. Since then, an additional 45 members have cosponsored the resolution. COHEAO is currently working with several Senate offices that are interested in starting a similar support effort in the Senate.

On June 16th, Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY) circulated a Dear Colleague Letter to congressional members asking them to sign a statement that they “Support the Reauthorization of the Perkins Loan Program”. In just over one month, this letter garnered 95 co-signers. The letter will be sent to Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce to show this extraordinary support of the program.

COHEAO recently received a request from Congressmen Mark Pocan’s and Luke Messer’s offices asking COHEAO to help provide letters of support from other organizations. Pocan is making Perkins his top priority related to Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization. COHEAO sprang into action and within days was able to obtain letters of support from numerous institutions and national and regional organizations. We have included a copy of the current list of supporters as an attachment to this letter. If your institution or organization is interested in showing support for the Perkins program, we have included a sample letter which can be put on letterhead and forwarded to COHEAO. The list of supporters will likely be included in an upcoming Dear Colleague Letter that Congressman Pocan is issuing.

While this support is very good news, the HEA, including Perkins, is scheduled to expire on September 30, 2015. Based on the limited time that will remain once Congress reconvenes, as well as other priorities on their agenda, it is almost a certainty at this point that the HEA will be extended until lawmakers can agree to a comprehensive update to the Act.

COHEAO has mentioned in previous communications that the possibility exists that the Perkins Loan Program could be “carved out” of the extension due to the cost score that may be associated with retaining the program during the extension. The score is determined by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and is currently estimated at $800 million for a one-year extension. COHEAO is working tirelessly with congressional staff to eliminate this scoring issue since the previous 18 HEA extensions resulted in no cost scored by CBO to extend the Perkins Program.

We welcome your feedback and encourage your involvement as we continue our national efforts to Save Perkins Now! Please visit our Perkins Advocacy Page at COHEAO.org for more information and feel free to reach out to me or any COHEAO Board member if you have questions or suggestions.


Maria Livolsi
COHEAO President

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