The U.S. House of Representatives on Monday approved a one-year extension of the federal Perkins Loan program, which is set to expire this week.
House lawmakers passed, on a voice vote, legislation that would allow the federal Perkins Loan program to continue through next September. Unless the Senate acts, the Perkins Loan program will expire at midnight on Thursday. If the program were to expire, colleges would be able to continue to make Perkins Loans to some students who need the financing to finish their degrees, but colleges would be unable to make any new loans.
Passage of the House bill on Monday sends the fate of the Perkins Loan program to the Senate. Senator Lamar Alexander, the Tennessee Republican who heads the Senate education committee, has called for eliminating the Perkins Loan program as part of an effort to simplify and streamline the federal government’s student loan programs.
Senator Patty Murray of Washington, the top Democrat on the education committee, has said she doesn’t want to see the program expire.
In a statement, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said that Perkins is an “important campus-based financial tool” and called on Congress to “make it larger, better targeted and more effective at helping students and families.”
The legislation that cleared the House on Monday would also extend for a year two federal higher education committees, the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, which advises the education secretary on accreditation issues, and the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance.
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