Despite Widespread Support, Perkins Loan Program Faces an Uncertain Future

Perkins Loan Program Faces an Uncertain Future 1

Rajah Bose for The Chronicle

Whitney D. Lyons, a financial-aid counselor at Gonzaga U., graduated from there with the help of a federal Perkins Loan, a program set to expire in 2012.

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close Perkins Loan Program Faces an Uncertain Future 1

Rajah Bose for The Chronicle

Whitney D. Lyons, a financial-aid counselor at Gonzaga U., graduated from there with the help of a federal Perkins Loan, a program set to expire in 2012.

For over half a century, the federal Perkins Loan program has helped low-income students like Whitney D. Lyons afford college. Ms. Lyons, who graduated from Gonzaga University two years ago and is now a financial-aid counselor there, borrowed $15,000 in Perkins Loans to supplement her other government aid, including Pell Grants and Stafford Loans.

Ms. Lyons's parents, a taxi driver and a nursing-home worker, were unable to pay for her education. She said that her Perkins loan, for