Perkins Loan Program deadline looms

WASHINTON (Gray DC) -- Paying for the next semester could get more complicated for college students who rely on Perkins Loans.  Federal money for the program is running out.
University of Wisconsin-Madison student, Katherine Aliaga, said, “Without it [Perkins Loan], I probably would not be able to be here.”
Aliaga is one of 23,000 Wisconsin college students who will be forced to look for college money somewhere else, if the Perkins Loan Program ends. She said, “Not a lot of us have parent’s help, or scholarship, or grants. So having this loan helps us a lot.”
The Perkins Loan Program is unique. Campuses act like the lenders, and put the borrowed federal money toward a student’s bill. Campuses refill the Perkins loan pool with payback from former borrowers.
Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) said, “While they are administered by the campuses, really the funds are going to the students to help them make ends meet.”
Perkins Loans are meant for the neediest students on campus. Baldwin doesn’t want those students scrambling around for other money.
“This uncertainty shouldn’t exist.”, Baldwin said.
She co-authored a bi-partisan bill to keep the nearly 60 year old Perkins Loan Program alive, but that doesn’t mean everybody likes it.
Mary Clare Amselem, from the conservative Heritage Foundation, said, “I’m hoping that Congress allows the Perkins Loan Program to expire.”
Amselem says the Perkins program is outdated and makes the student loan system more complicated.
She said, “We should be pursuing policies that allow private lenders to come into this space that won’t have that won’t have that result of driving up the cost of tuition for all students.”
Some conservative in Congress have shared Amselem’s view in the past and Perkins Loan supporters are afraid this bill will be blocked, ending the loan program for good.
The Perkins Loan program expires Saturday. Two years ago, legislators missed a deadline to extend the program, only to reauthorize it less than three months later. This time around, it’s unknown what Congress will do.

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