College Campaigns Against Bush

Students who receive Perkins loans as a part of their financial aid packages received the below email this afternoon from the College urging them to contact Congress and pressure them to vote against the President’s budget proposal.

The proposed budget would expand the Stafford loan and Pell grant programs and cut the largely redundant Perkins loan program. Students would be eligible for up to $4,550 a year in federal grants which need not be repaid; the College-administered Perkins program requires students to repay the funds. What’s more, the College earns a five percent return on the Perkins loans, so there’s no wonder the College opposes Bush’s plan to cut them out of the loop.

Included with the email were form letters to be sent to Senators and Representatives in Washington.

Date: 30 Mar 2005 16:06:29 EST
From: Financial Aid
Subject: **URGENT** All Perkins Loan Borrowers **PLEASE READ IMMEDIATELY**

Because you receive a Federal Perkins Loan as part of your financial aid package, I am writing to you to alert you to a proposal by President Bush that would prevent your receiving this loan in the future and to ask you to get involved in our efforts to protect the Perkins Loan program from elimination. Perkins loans are an important part of financial aid packages here at Dartmouth, including your own.

President Bush’s budget not only proposes no new funds for the Perkins program but also calls for the total elimination of the program by requiring that institutions return to the Federal treasury the Federal capital that has gone into the fund (some of which started when the program was initiated in 1958) along with interest earned on the federal capital over that long period of time. In Dartmouth’s case, the amount of funding that would have to be returned to the Federal government is more than $17 million. Last year alone, Dartmouth students received over $5 million in Perkins loans.

What can you do? I would recommend that you call, e-mail, fax or write your members of Congress and the New Hampshire Congressional delegation right away, letting them know that Perkins loans are important to your education and that you do not want to see the program eliminated. You might point out that the proposed $100 increase in the maximum Pell Grant will not make up the amount you will lose in Perkins funds. [If the Perkins Loan program is eliminated, Dartmouth will assist you with other loan funds. However, those funds will almost certainly have a higher interest rate than that associated with the Perkins program.]

You can reach any Representative’s office by calling 202-225-3121 and asking to be connected to the particular member’s office. Likewise, all Senate offices can be reached by calling 202-224-3121 and asking for the particular Senator’s office. To check on fax numbers or e-mail addresses, each member’s office has his/her own website with such information. You can go to the www.house.gov or www.senate.gov and find your members’ and New Hampshire members’ web pages. New Hampshire’s Senator Judd Gregg is an especially important contact since he chairs the Senate Budget Committee. His address is 393 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510. His phone number is 202-224-3324. His e-mail address is: mailbox@gregg.senate.gov. I am enclosing two sample letters that you are free to use. While it is not necessary, if you personalize the letters further, their impact will be greater.

TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE. The Senate Budget Committee reports its resolution this Friday (April 1) and the House on April 15. Please join our effort to preserve the Perkins Loan program.

Virginia Hazen
Director of Financial Aid