Sept. 19, 2017

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Tonko, Kowal join UAlbany rally for Perkins Loan extension

uupdate 9-19-17

Albany Chapter UUP members and UAlbany students aren’t about to let the Perkins Loan Program expire without a fight.

More than 150 students - many of them enrolled in the university’s Educational Opportunity Program - and UUP members took part in the Sept. 19 rally to push for the much-needed student aid program, set to expire Sept. 30. U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, UUP President Fred Kowal, above, were two of more than a dozen speakers at the event.

uupdate 9-19-17

Tonko (D-Amsterdam), above, said he would do all he could to get Congress to extend the program, and said that allowing it to sunset “would be a foolish mistake.”

“What’s more important, the Perkins Loan or (President Trump’s Mexican border) wall?,” Tonko asked, as sign-waving students cheered and shouted. “People shouldn’t be denied this opportuintyy because of economics.”

Kowal said the loan program must be preserved.

“We are fully with you,” said Kowal, who attended the rally with UUP VPP Tom Tucker. “The times demand it, and the future will be defined by it. Perkins now, Perkins tomorrow, Perkins forever.”

uupdate 9-19-17

Albany Chapter President Aaron Major, above, Executive Board member Patrick Romain, and chapter member Maritza Martinez, director of UAlbany’s EOP and the rally’s organizer, also spoke at the event.

The Perkins Loan Program is a key funding source for low-income students who may not qualify for other forms of student aid; about 1,500 colleges and universities nationwide can make the loans to students under the program, which has operated without federal government funding for more than a decade. The funding comes from borrowers as they repay their loans.

The House and the Senate have both introduced legislation to extend the program for two years.

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