Congress has restored the country's oldest student loan program, which in October following congressional inaction.
For nearly 60 years, the Federal Perkins Loan Program has been a lifeline for millions of poor students struggling to pay for college and afford other living expenses, like transportation, day care and food.
Congress has now passed legislation that extends the program for two years. It also raises costs for many student borrowers.
Under the bill, which has bipartisan support, borrowers will have to exhaust their eligibility for federal direct loans before being eligible for a Perkins loan.
In a statement, Senator Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin, who helped write the bill, said lawmakers were able to break the gridlock and provide support to students who were "left in the lurch when the program expired this fall."
"While this bipartisan compromise is not perfect and it not the legislation that I would have written on my own, I was proud to lead a bipartisan coalition in the Senate that really kept up the pressure to get this done on behalf of student."