September 28, 2015

Warner, Kaine. Scott, Connolly, And Beyer Advocate For Virginia College Students

Urge Senate leaders to support legislation ensuring Federal Perkins Loan recipients have predictability in their financial planning

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) and U.S. Reps. Bobby Scott (D-VA-3), Gerry Connolly (D-VA-11), and Don Beyer (D-VA-8) wrote to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), urging support for a one-year reauthorization of the Federal Perkins Loan Program. Without Congressional action, the program will lose its authorization on September 30, 2015, leaving Virginia college students in the lurch for funds they are counting on to help pay for the current school year.

Perkins loans offer a five percent fixed interest rate, no origination fees, and a nine-month grace period. These reasonable, relatively low-dollar loans make college a reality for the lowest-income students who would otherwise turn to higher interest private loans or conclude that a college education is out of their reach. The members emphasized that efforts to make our student aid system more efficient should be instituted responsibly, and not to the detriment of Virginia’s students. Reauthorizing the program for one year will ensure students have the predictability they need to plan their finances and fund their educations.

The members wrote, “We support efforts to improve our student aid system as part of a comprehensive reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. However, we do not believe we should pass along negative consequences to students without having a better sense of what their next steps will be. As evidenced by the Higher Education Extension Act of 2015 (H.R. 3594), Senate Resolution 267, and House Resolution 294, Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle share this opinion. Accordingly, we urge you to support a one-year reauthorization of the Federal Perkins Loan Program in any measure that may come to the floor this week, and in particular H.R. 3594, which has bipartisan support and ensures the reauthorization is fully paid for at no additional cost to taxpayers.”

A PDF of the signed letter is available here.