Legislative Update: New ED Appointees and Extension of Student Loan Payments

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced new political appointees this week, following Wednesday’s inauguration. Read below to learn about who this included, as well as the new extension of federal student loan payments and the latest updates to the College Scorecard. 

ED Announces Senior Biden-Harris Appointees 

On Thursday, ED announced new senior appointees to the department, including: 

  • Sheila Nix, Chief of Staff;
  • Claudia Chavez, White House Liaison;
  • Suzanne Goldberg, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Strategic Operations and Outreach, Office for Civil Rights (serving as acting Assistant Secretary);
  • Ian Rosenblum, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Programs, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (serving as Acting Assistant Secretary);
  • Emma Leheny, Principal Deputy General Counsel, Office of the General Counsel (serving as acting General Counsel); 
  • Donna Harris-Aikens, Senior Advisor for Policy and Planning, Office of the Secretary; 
  • Ben Miller, Senior Advisor to the Chief of Staff; 
  • Ben Hale, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Communications, Office of Communications and Outreach (serving as acting Assistant Secretary); 
  • Rich Williams, Chief of Staff, Office of Postsecondary Education; 
  • Greg Schmidt, Senior Counsel, Office of the General Counsel; 
  • Jasmine Bolton, Senior Counsel, Office for Civil Rights; and 
  • Alex Payne, Special Assistant, Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs.

Of note, Harris-Aikens held a leadership position at Advance CTE from 2002 to 2003. Full bios of each appointee can be found here

President Extends Pause on Federal Student Loan Payments 

Almost immediately following Wednesday’s inauguration, President Joe Biden directed ED to extend the pause on federal student loan repayments and collections and keep the interest rate at 0%. COVID-19 emergency relief flexibilities are also extended through September 30, 2021. 

ED Updates College Scorecard 

Last week, ED announced new updates to the College Scorecard. Information on how well borrowers from individual colleges and universities are progressing in repaying federal student loans is now available on the site. Additionally, there is data on how borrower cohorts are progressing in the repayment process at different intervals. This includes the percentages of borrowers who fall under these eight loan repayment statuses two years after entering repayment: paid in full, making progress, delinquency, forbearance, default, not making progress, deferment and loans discharged.  

Meredith Hills, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

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