The Federal Perkins Loan student financial aid program ended on Wednesday, Sept. 30, when the U.S. Senate didn’t renew the program. Effective immediately, schools will not be issuing new Perkins loans.

You may have received a Perkins Loan if the total amount of your Stafford Loan didn’t cover the entire cost of college. If you received a Perkins loan for the 2015-16 academic year, don’t worry: You will continue to receive funds until you graduate. However, no new loans will be made to students who have not received Perkins loans previously. The loss of this funding is substantial for many college students.

How do I know if this impacts me

The first step is to determine if you received a Perkins Loan in the past. If you did, you don’t have to worry about losing this aid. To find out if you have received a Perkins Loan, login to your iontuition account, and visit the ionManage dashboard. If your school subscribes to iontuition, your loan data will be pre-loaded for you. If your school does not subscribe, you can still create an iontuition account to manage your student loans.  Follow the steps to upload your loan information. If you don’t know if your school subscribes, contact your financial aid department.

If you have not received a Perkins Loan in the past and were counting on this aid, it’s important to start researching other methods to fund your higher education costs. Your school’s financial aid department can help find out what your options are for scholarships, student loans, and other financial aid.

More about Perkins Loans

More than 1,500 colleges and universities, mostly four-year schools, were part of the Perkins program. Under Perkins, schools lent a portion of their own funds to borrowers and acted as the lender. This is different from other federal loans where the Department of Education lends 100 percent of the funds to borrowers. The interest rate on a Perkins Loan was fixed at five percent, which is higher than the interest rate for Stafford Loans. The government paid the interest on the loans if a student was enrolled at least half-time.

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, more than 30 million students received aid since the programs founding. Perkins Loans disbursements were $5,500 amounts per year for undergraduate students.