President-elect Joe Biden has announced his candidacy for Secretary of Education to replace Betsy DeVos, who has headed the US Department of Education for President Trump’s entire term.
Biden will nominate Dr. Miguel A. Cardona for the position. Cardona is currently the Education Commissioner of Connecticut and has three decades of experience as an educator and administrator of public schools. He would be the first Latino to head the US Department of Education.
“In Miguel Cardona, America will have an experienced and dedicated teacher in public schools who will pave the way for the Department of Education – ensuring that every student is equipped to thrive in the economy of the future, that every educator has the resources he needs to do his job. jobs with dignity and success, and that every school is on track to safely reopen, ”Biden said in a statement Tuesday.
DeVos was a controversial figure during her tenure as the head of the US Department of Education, and she frequently clashed with consumer rights groups and student loan advocates over her handling of the extensive federal student aid system.
When DeVos took over the US Department of Education in 2017, his administration attempted to rewrite the rules governing borrower’s defense on repayment, a loan forgiveness program with regulations formally established for the first time under the Obama administration. Lawyers accused DeVos of delaying processing 160,000 claims and, in subsequent litigation, argued that DeVos violated federal rules and court orders regarding the program. More recently, a federal court reprimanded DeVos for the department issuing blanket denials to claimants, often with minimal legal reasoning.
DeVos has also been criticized for its management of the Student Loans Service and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, as well as its hands-on approach to regulating for-profit schools, which some advocates say have engaged in predatory practices. . DeVos has publicly denounced broad policy ideas such as student loan cancellation and debt-free college.
Consumer rights organizations and student loan advocates have expressed cautious optimism about Dr Cardona.
“The Betsy DeVos era in the Department of Education is over, and so are her attacks on students, parents and student borrowers,” said Natalia Abrams, Executive Director of Student Debt Crisis. “The appointment of Miguel Cardona as secretary of education gives hope that existing student debt relief programs will be implemented as required by law.”
“It’s a new day for student borrowers,” the Predatory Student Loans Project said in a statement. “For too long, the voice of for-profit students and their legal rights have been ignored by the Secretary of Education. We have every hope that this will change under Secretary Miguel Cardona. The Biden-Harris administration, under the leadership of new secretary Cardona, has the opportunity to listen to for-profit students and make a difference for them from day one.
Advocates are pushing Biden to take significant action on student debt early in his tenure. Student loan relief has become a more pressing issue in light of the failure to include an extension of the moratorium on federal student loan repayments in its latest stimulus bill. This moratorium is will expire on January 31, just 11 days after Biden was sworn in.
“It is deeply disappointing that Congress did not act to extend the federal suspension of student loans in the [stimulus] relief bill, ”Americans for Financial Reform said in a statement. “This increases the urgency for Biden to act, both by extending the pause on payments and by canceling federal student loan debt.”
Although Biden expressed general support for a broad student loan cancellation, he avoided questions on a specific plan and did not say whether or not he would adopt a blanket student debt cancellation through a executive action.