The contributions of Carl D. Perkins on higher education legislation 1948-1984.

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Damron, Donald
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Middle Tennessee State University
Carl D. Perkins was the representative from the Seventh Congressional District of Kentucky. At the time of his death on August 3, 1984, he was among the top three in seniority in the House of Representatives having served as the representative from his district since 1948.
During those three decades of service Perkins became on of the most powerful voices in Congress for aid to education and relief for the millions of people who live in poverty.
Perkins served all of his term in Congress on the House Education and Labor Committee, succeeding Adam Clayton Powell in 1967 as chairman of that important body. From this powerful position Perkins found it possible to aid President Lyndon Johnson in his Great Society programs and also to act as a barrier to proposed funding cuts and program dismantling in the following administrations. Perkins was credited with a great impact upon programs which affected higher education legislation of 1958, 1965, and 1972. His importance was so widely recognized by his peers that the National Direct Student Loan Program was renamed the Perkins Loan in his honor.
It was the purpose of this dissertation to explore the contributions of Carl D. Perkins to legislative activities which directly impacted upon higher education. In order to accomplish this goal, chapter three of the dissertation provided a brief overview of the history of federal aid to higher education. Chapter four provided biographical information on the career of Carl D. Perkins. Chapter five was an examination of Perkins' legislative activity from 1948, and previous to his assuming the chairmanship of the House Committee on Education and Labor. Chapter six examined Perkins' years as chairman of the committee from 1967 until his death. Special emphasis was placed upon his adroit handling of the House/Senate Committee which produced the compromise Higher Education legislation of 1972 and his fight against budgetary cuts proposed under the Reagan Administration.
This dissertation concluded that Carl D. Perkins was a man totally dedicated to this goal of placing quality education at the postsecondary level within reach of every citizen who had the desire and ability to seize it. The contribution of Carl D. Perkins to higher education legislation was a very significant factor in the status of this arena of educational activity in this country today.