MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - As high school students prepare to apply for college one option to pay for their education no longer exists.
Just two weeks ago the federal government passed a last-minute measure keeping the government open, but in that rush, a decades old college loan program expired.
The Perkins Loan Program offered low-income students up to $5,500 for their college education.
The program makes up $1.2 billion of $150 billion in aid the government gives out each year.
Since it's inception in 1958, the program has helped more than 30 million students at more than 1,500 colleges across the country. One of those schools is Auburn University at Montgomery, which says they'll definitely see an impact.
"At AUM, we award somewhere between 175 to 200 students each year funds from the Perkins loan program," says Anthony Richey, senior director of financial aid at AUM. "So initially, we're not going to be able to award new students that loan anymore since it has expired."
The House of Representatives did vote to re-authorize the program but Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, blocked a vote in the Senate.
Alexander released a statement explaining his decision:
For first-year students currently taking out a Perkins loan, that aid won't be available next year unless a replacement allows it. But until that replacement comes, students are left in limbo especially those who rely on financial aid.
A third of students who received the loans during the 2012-13 school year came from families that made less than $30,000 a year.
"There's still a possibility that congress could bring it back during the re-authorization of federal aid or they could try to bring it back when they create the new budget," Richey said. "However things are kind of grim as far as whether that will happen or not."
Students who were awarded Perkins Loans before June 30 are grandfathered in and can still receive funds as long as they meet certain criteria at their school.