Help Save the Perkins Loan Program

President Bush’s 2005 budget proposal calls for the elimination of all funding for the Federal Perkins Loan program, due to the program’s recent evaluation which reported that the Federal Perkins Loan Program was “redundant” and “useless”. We know this is not the case.

You can help by downloading one of the following letters, and sending it to Congress:

Marquette Alumni Letter to Congress

Parents Letter to Congress

Borrowers in Cancellation Letter to Congress

For more information on the continuing effort to save the Perkins program please visit the following link. This link also provides contact information for your Congressional and Senate Representatives:

COHEAO (Coalition of Higher Education Assistance Organizations)

The Federal Perkins Loan program has many benefits which set it apart:

  • The Federal Perkins Loan is the oldest Federal student loan program in existence, and is structured to benefit students of modest backgrounds, with the greatest need, to accomplish their long term educational goals.
  • The Perkins Loan cancellation program is unique. Other Federal loans have very limited cancellation provisions, but Perkins is the ONLY Federal student loan eligible to be 100% cancelled for job service.
  • The Perkins Loan has a fixed interest rate of 5%. The Department of Education’s study criticizes this in lieu of the current low interest rates, but fails to point out that interest rates on variable rate loans like Stafford can rise as high as 8.25%. Over time, these rates will rise again.
  • The Perkins Loan program is campus based. Perkins Loan funds are directly available to Financial Aid departments to disburse at its own discretion. Schools can use Perkins Loans to cover shortfalls left by other financial aid sources, unlike Stafford and Direct Loans.
  • The Federal Perkins Loan program has an extraordinarily low rate of default. This is especially striking, given the need basis of the students who receive it. Because each school is responsible for administering its own Perkins program, lending schools take active ownership of their individual programs, leading to high success rates of repayment. The Perkins Loan program therefore requires comparatively little government oversight, and is relatively inexpensive.
  • Undergraduates may borrow up to $4,000 per year, while graduate and professional students may borrow up to $6,000 per year. The current proposal seeks to offset the loss of the Perkins program by increasing the Pell Grant by $100 per student per year. While Pell Grants are intended to subsidize those most in need, the additional $100 simply is not enough.

Marquette Alumni are a rare breed. Statistically, they are some of the most active participants in volunteer organizations, charitable causes, and political action committees. This is why we have decided to ask for your help. Please help us continue to provide this same important benefit for a new generation of college students, by taking a minute of your time to complete one of the above letters, and sending it to your congressional representative. Get the word out!