Don’t cut the Perkins Loan Program.

Memories of Sakura Park Global Festival

Serene Jones — The Hill — April 16, 2015, 04:00 pm
 
Every year around Tax Day, while settling up my account with Uncle Sam, I think about what it is that my tax dollars help to support. Some things I strongly agree with, some not so much. As President of Union Theological Seminary, I’m especially appreciative of the critical role our federal government plays in securing the future of American higher education.
In particular, the Perkins Loan Program has allowed hundreds of students at Union to earn a graduate degree—an opportunity that without this program, they simply would not have had.
Which is why I am so befuddled and angry that Congress is threatening to eliminate this critical program. Without it, students at more than 1,700 schools will lose their chance to earn an education.
Far more than simply opening up new worlds of exploration for individual students, our nation’s world-leading graduate institutions ensure the vibrancy and productivity of our future workforce. Maintaining this advantage is critical for securing our place in an ever-more competitive global economy.
Too often, the conversation about the affordability of higher education starts and ends around the debilitating effects of student debt. While I agree that we must chart a path forward that frees students from bearing the weight of crushing debt, we must also realize that our student loan programs allow people of all backgrounds the opportunity to pursue higher education and the economic mobility that comes with it…
 
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