WASHINGTON (WCMH) — Thousands of Ohio college students depend on federal loans to fund their education, but now it looks like one popular program is dead.
The decades-old Federal Perkins Loan Program provided loans for nearly 500,000 students in 1,400 schools. The program expired on Sept. 30.
Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced a bill to extend the program for two years, but the legislation died on the Senate floor.
Baldwin attempted to pass the bill through a fast track process that requires unanimous consent in the Senate, but Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) objected, and he’s not the only one.
“We need a much simpler process for federal student loans,” Alexander said.
Alexander and other opponents to the expansion want to streamline the student loan process so it is easier for students to pay the loans back.
“Perkins loans have a higher interest rate. The default is higher,” Alexander said on the Senate floor.
Baldwin agrees that the federal student loan process is complicated but says cutting off access to student loans is not the answer.
“I do not think it is right or fair to end this program with nothing to replace it,” Baldwin said.
Despite the bill’s defeat, Baldwin and Alexander vowed to work together to find a long-term solution that makes attending college more accessible and affordable.