Senator Collins Statement Following Extension of Vital Perkins Student Loan Program

More than 5,000 Maine Students received $9.2 million in Perkins Loans last year

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, released the following statement after the Senate unanimously passed legislation extending the Perkins Loan Program for two years.  This critical lifeline for many low-income students expired on September 30.
 
“At Maine’s colleges and universities, more than 5,000 students received a Perkins Loan last year, providing $9.2 million in financial aid,” said Senator Collins. “Students depend on the Perkins Loan Program as a critical resource to fill gaps beyond what is available through the Department of Education’s Direct Loan Program and a family’s ability to pay. While today’s extension to sustain this vital and proven program for two years is progress, a permanent extension of the program is clearly needed to give students in Maine and across our country the critical certainty required to plan for and afford a higher education.”
 
Senator Collins has long advocated to protect the Perkins Loan Program, the nation’s older federal student loan program. This program has existed with broad bipartisan support since 1958 and has provided more than $28 billion in low-interest loans through almost 26 million awards to students in all 50 states. In the last academic year alone, the program lent $1.1 billion to more than half a million students with financial need across more than 1,500 institutions of higher education.
 
This October, Senator Collins led a bipartisan letter, along with Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Robert Casey (D-PA), and Rob Portman (R-OH), to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Harry Reid urging them to take up and pass legislation to extend the Perkins Loan Program. Senator Collins also spoke from the Senate floor to advocate for the extension of this vital program.