On Wednesday afternoon, Joe Hill (COL ’11) testified before the House Budget Committee during a hearing about the Perkins Loan Program.
Hill, a Philadelphia native, attested to the benefits of the program that is set to be terminated in 2012. Drawing on the strength and support of his parents, who were at the hearing, Hill discussed the powerful impact that Georgetown has had on his life; without generous scholarships and the Perkins Loan, attending Georgetown was financially impossible.
“Last week, I was talking to my mother, and, without hesitation, she said, ‘It still wouldn’t have worked without that Perkins Loan,’” he testified.
The Perkins Loan Program, named after former Representative Carl Perkins, provide loans at a five percent interest rate for students in need. The program offers up to $5,500 a year for undergraduates, with a maximum total of $27,500.
Hill, who went to a high school where violence impeded his studies, told the committee that he “was lucky” to graduate and earn acceptance into Georgetown. Those incidents, he said, forced him to enrolled in a Philadelphia-area community college in order to “unleash [his] true potential.”
Relating the struggles and perseverance of his mother and father in providing for the family and his education, he also described the difficulties he—and the 840 other students at Georgetown who receive Perkins loans—endured to achieve what he called the “American Dream.”
Hill was chosen as a witness after the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities recommended to the committee that it was important to have student input.
According to Scott Fleming (SFS ’72), associate vice president for federal relations, the last student to testify before Congress did so in 2003, when the Student Association Vice President Luis Torres (COL ’05) testified about the importance of student aid funding.
Claire McDaniel contributed to this report.