Student Loans | Student Loans And Their History

January 21, 2012 – 5:30 am

The first recorded student loan program was developed by Harvard University in 1840. These early Student Loans were private loans that were not funded by the government. In 1935 the state of Indiana’s General Assembly passed a law that provided student aid to students who had high test scores on their college entrance exams. This led to the formation of the Indiana State Financial Aid Association, or ISFAA, which was followed by the opening of the first Financial Aid office in Indiana University. Soon other colleges joined the ISFAA, and Indiana students had a new way to pay for school.

On October 4, 1957, Russia launched the first successful satellite into space. This had a huge impact on the history of financial aid in America, because the American government suddenly realized that they were in a race to put the first person in space. They realized that they only way to succeed in this race was to ensure that as many high school graduates as possible attended college, a feat which was out of the financial resources of many. With guidance from the ISFAA, the federal government created a working financial aid program.

After World War II, Congress passed the National Defense Education Act. This act introduced the Perkins Loan, a low-interest student loan that is provided to low-income students and has a 10-year repayment period. This was the first federally backed student loan, and more would soon follow. In 1963 the Health Education Assistance Act provided loans for students pursuing degrees in medical and health fields. This was followed by what is now known as the Federal Work-Study Program, a program that allows the federal government to pay the wages of working students.

By the end of 1965, Most of the student loan programs we use today, such as the Stafford Loan, Work-Study Program, and Perkins Loan, were in place. As the cost of education continued to rise, the government introduced the Parent’s PLUS loan program in 1981, a program that allowed higher-income families to get assistance in paying for school. Today, these loan programs allow many students to pursue an education when they would otherwise be unable to, making them a valuable resource to our country as we strive to continue as a global leader.


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