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Federal Perkins Loan Program

The Federal Perkins Loan Program has its origins in the 1958 National Defense Education Act, which created the federal government’s first student loan program. The act established the National Defense Student Loan Program, a pool of federal funds to be loaned to students with financial need attending participating colleges and universities. These institutions were responsible for administering the program and contributing $1 of their own funds for every $9 in federal contributions. The name of the program changed to the National Direct Student Loan Program in 1972 and the Perkins Loan Program in 1987, after former Congressman Carl D. Perkins (D-KY). Later, the word “federal” was added to the name.

Colleges and universities have become more responsible for funding the Perkins program over time. To ...

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