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Top Higher Education Post – Inside Higher Ed


James Kvaal, a key player in the Obama administration’s policies, who has called for tougher scrutiny of for-profit institutions, has been nominated to be the Biden administration’s education under secretary.

In nominating James Kvaal to be under secretary of education — the nation’s top official on policies affecting colleges and universities — the Biden administration has selected a longtime education policy expert who has focused on increasing access for low-income and other underrepresented students.

Kvaal, who must still be confirmed by the Senate, most recently served as president of the Institute for College Access & Success, where he has also called for greater oversight of for-profit colleges and universities and tried to bring attention to the role skyrocketing tuition has played in driving up student debt.

Kvaal, who had widely been speculated to be chosen for the position, served in the Obama administration as the deputy White House domestic policy adviser, focusing on issues related to economic opportunity and education, as well as deputy education under secretary.

During the Obama administration, Kvaal was a driving force behind some of Obama’s higher education policy achievements, such as overhauling the federal student loan system and expanding income-based repayment for student loans. He was also a key player in the administration’s regulatory battle with for-profit colleges, its attempt at rating colleges and Obama’s plan for free community college.

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