UPDATE: The Fate of the Perkins Loan Program Is Far from Decided

March 17, 2017 · by mlivolsi · Spark Notes

The Perkins Loan Program is scheduled to expire on September 30, 2017, but COHEAO and other advocates continue a strong push to continue the program which has benefited students and schools for 59 years. It is very important for you to have the most current and accurate information regarding this program.

Despite the extension prohibition language in the Federal Perkins Loan Extension Act of 2015, COHEAO continues to work with Members of Congress and other higher education advocates in DC who are very interested in extending and modernizing the Perkins Loan Program. In fact, at the COHEAO Annual Conference in January, key Congressional staff from the 2015 Save Perkins campaign met with COHEAO members to strategize and chart a new path forward for the long-term future of the program.

As part of these efforts, COHEAO has developed and is promoting a plan for the Campus-Based Programs called “Campus Flex.” The Campus Flex proposal would modernize, simplify and streamline all campus-based programs (Federal Perkins Loans, FSEOG, and Federal Work Study) into a single appropriation. The institution (Financial Aid Office) would then determine how funds are allocated to these programs based on the needs of their students. This promotes flexibility and allows for local control of these programs. Click here for additional info on Campus Flex.

With the expiration date a little more than six months away, the worst action an institution can take right now is to liquidate its Perkins Loan fund. First and foremost, students will lose access to low-cost, subsidized loans. Additionally, a school that decides to liquidate prior to the expiration of the program will not be able to recoup its investment of Institutional Capital Contributions (ICC) and will lose all hope for any reimbursement of its institutional share of cancelled loan funds.

While the fate of the Perkins Loan Program is far from decided, the effort to preserve Perkins Loans is in full swing! Grassroots advocacy is needed at all levels – from reaching out to your Congressional Representatives to the members of your campus community, including students, parents, student service offices, government relations and the president or chancellor’s office. Perkins Loan supporters need to be advocates for the Perkins Program as the fight is far from over!

If you need assistance with your advocacy efforts, two resources from COHEAO—our Ten Reasons Why the Perkins Program is Good for Students and Institutions and Perkins Loans – Past, Present and Future document—should be extremely helpful. Also, additional information is available on the COHEAO Advocacy page of our website. Please feel free to email Hannah Allen (Hallen@wpllc.net) with any questions and stay tuned for our next update following our COHEAO Hill Day in April.

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