Federal Relations

September 28, 2015

Perkins Extension Passes House, Still In Danger

The House has passed by voice vote, HR 3594, a measure which would extend the Perkins program for a year until it may be fully considered with the impending Higher Education Act reauthorization, which is expected this fall and spring. The Perkins program would expire on September 30th without the extension.

The Perkins program is a critical tool that allows UW to combine federal funds with additional investment by the university to offer needy students fixed, low interest loans. UW receives more Perkins loan volume than any other public institution in the nation — about 4,700 recipients in the 2013-14 school year for UW.

While the measure passed the House, the fate of the program is unclear in the Senate. Senate HELP Committee Chair Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has expressed a desire to let the program simply expire, which is in line with his ultimate goal of one loan, one form for higher education. Expiration would effectively kill the program.

Senate Democrats are working on passing the measure by Unanimous Consent, but it is unclear if the measure will be considered in time (i.e. today).