Press Releases

Rep. Porter Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Provide Student Borrower Relief for Perkins Loan Holders

Congresswoman’s legislation would suspend monthly repayments for student loan recipients left out of previous coronavirus aid packages.

Washington, June 22, 2020
Tags: Education

WASHINGTON—Congresswoman Katie Porter (CA-45) today introduced bipartisan legislation with Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Congresswoman Susie Lee (NV-03), Congresswoman Lori Trahan (MA-03), and Congresswoman Alma Adams (NC-12) that would expand the reach of the student borrower protections included in the CARES Act. The COVID–19 Perkins Loan Relief Act would allow the nearly 2 million borrowers with Perkins loans to forgo making payments on those loans until October.

“Student borrowers in Orange County and across the country are hurting regardless of what kind of loan they have,” said Congresswoman Porter. “This pandemic has only exacerbated our existing student debt crisis. I’m glad to see support on both sides of the aisle for closing this loophole and doing right by Americans who invested in their education.”

“COVID-19 presented significant challenges and uncertainty to North Country residents with student loan payments,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “This bipartisan legislation closes a gap in the CARES Act and allows those with Perkins loans to defer payments until October as we recover from the COVID-19 crisis. Along with the Equity in Student Loan Relief Act, this critical legislation will reduce significant financial stress for the borrowers who have been left behind, and I’m proud to be an advocate for all of our hardworking North Country students and their families.”

"Under the CARES Act, both parties in Congress agreed that suspending student loan payments and interest accumulation was the right thing to do during this crisis,” said Congresswoman Lee. “It’s our duty to look after every student, but nearly two months later, Perkins Loan borrowers have not received the same protections under the CARES Act. We are closing this gap through the bipartisan COVID-19 Perkins Loan Relief Act to ensure student borrowers don't have to worry about burdensome monthly payments while making ends meet during this pandemic.”  

“Nearly two months after the CARES Act became law, millions of federal student loan borrowers continue to struggle without relief,” said Congresswoman Trahan. “I’m proud to help introduce this legislation with broad support to provide much needed assistance to folks who took out federal loans through the Perkins program and continue to owe payments.”

“The CARES Act provided relief for over 35 million Americans burdened with student debt, but 10 million Americans continue to struggle with making student debt payments due to the devastating impacts of COVID-19”, said Congresswoman Adams. “I’m pleased to join this bipartisan collection of Members to assist 2 million Perkins loan borrowers, and look forward to continuing our work of providing relief to all Americans who view higher education as the path to a better life.”

While the CARES Act provided these relief measures for most of the nation’s student borrowers, recipients of Perkins loans and commercially-held FFEL loans were not included in the original legislation, which was signed into law in March. Congresswoman Porter’s legislation would bring Perkins loans borrowers under these protections. She is also a cosponsor of Congresswoman Stefanik’s Equity in Student Loan Relief Act which provides these same supports to FFEL borrowers. 

The National Consumer Law Center, the American Federation of Teachers, and The Institute for College Access and Success endorsed the COVID-19 Perkins Loan Relief Act

Congresswoman Porter has created step-by-step guides for student borrowers looking to navigate the borrower protections Congress established in the CARES Act. Both of these guides can be found on the Congresswoman’s COVID-19 resources page

A former UC Irvine law professor, Congresswoman Porter has prioritized increasing access to higher education and conducting proper oversight of for-profit universities. Over the summer, she led an effort to prevent California students from losing federal financial aid. She also joined colleagues in introducing a bill to make permanent a student loan forgiveness program for borrowers who were defrauded or misled by their schools. Porter authored a bill in May to protect student borrowers and increase transparency and accountability within the student loan servicing industry. She also called out Argosy University after reports that students hadn’t received financial aid funds.

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