UWM Post (U. Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
(U-WIRE) MILWAUKEE-For the fourth year in a row, President George W. Bush has proposed cuts to education funding that will affect college access and affordability for students nationwide unless students speak out.
“For those students who still have unmet needs and families who can’t afford to contribute, the Perkins Loans fill in the gap,” said Bruce Caplin, national co-chair of the Coalition of Higher Education Assistance Organizations Grassroots Action Network.
A lobbying firm for schools and other organizations who work to promote access to higher education, COHEAO focuses on legislative and regulatory advocacy for federal Perkins and other campus-based student loan programs.
The Perkins Loan is awarded to students with exceptional financial need. The school acts as the lender using a limited pool of funds provided by the federal government.
“The Perkins Loan is the best student loan available,” Caplin said. It is a subsidized loan, with the interest paid by the federal government during the time a student is in school and the nine-month grace period that follows. There are no fees and the interest rate is five percent over the 10-year repayment period.
Bush’s budget completely eliminates the Perkins Loan program, a program that offers benefits other loans do not. If enacted, more than 670,000 student borrowers would lose out on partial or total loan forgiveness if they became teachers, law enforcement officers or if they serve in the military.