Student Financial Services

The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008

In the Fall of 2008, President Bush signed into law the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008. This act reauthorizes and changes several programs relating to financial assistance for students. Some of the most notable changes to the Perkins Loan Program are listed below:

  • Reauthorizes Perkins Loan Program through 2015
  • Increases annual Perkins Loan limits to $5,500 for undergraduates, $8,000 for graduate and professional students
  • Expands consolidation loan disclosures to require explanation of Perkins Loan benefits that could be lost in a consolidation.
  • Deletes requirement that forbearance requests be written
  • Loan Rehabilitation: 9 on time payments needed, not 12
  • Increases book allowance from $450 to $600 per year in cost of attendance
  • Death or disability discharge of Perkins loans made consistent with how a loan is discharged in FFELP and Direct Loans. Physicians statement of disability required.(https://www.ecsi.net/bwr/forms/dis_discharge.pdf)
  • Loan Cancellation Expanded to include, for all Perkins loans, for years of service after enactment:
    • Full-time staff members in a pre-kindergarten or child care program that is licensed or regulated by the state;
    • Full-time public defenders;
    • Full-time faculty members at a tribally controlled university;
    • Librarians with a master’s degree in library science who are employed in a school served under Title I of the ESEA, or a public library serving a Title I school;
    • Full-time speech language pathologists with a master’s degree working exclusively in Title I schools;
    • Full-time firefighters;
    • Member of the armed forces who served in an area of hostility, at the rate of 15% for the 1st and 2nd years of service; 20% for the 3rd and 4th years of service; and 30% for the 5th year of service.
  • ED only permitted to require assignment of a defaulted loan (mandatory assignment) if school knowingly fails to maintain acceptable collection record on the defaulted loan, or
  • For voluntarily assigned or referred loans: collected funds MUST BE returned to institution that assigned them every six months, less 30% collection cost.

See entire HEA Act here: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/cpquery/R?cp110:FLD010:@1(hr803)