DeVos education

What does Betsy DeVos mean for higher ed?

With little background in higher education, stakeholders wonder how the nominee for Education Secretary will impact policy

DeVos and Student Loan Debt

On his campaign website, Trump vows to “work with Congress on reforms to ensure universities are making a good faith effort to reduce the cost of college and student debt in exchange for the federal tax breaks and tax dollars.”

He also would “ensure that the opportunity to attend a two or four-year college, or to pursue a trade or a skill set through vocational and technical education, will be easier to access, pay for, and finish.”

DeVos will certainly be expected to address the ever-growing issue of burdensome student debt and loans.

Shortly before the election, Trump proposed a loan repayment program that maxes out at 12.5 percent of the borrower’s income. The program would forgive loans after 15 years of payments.

DeVos and the Higher Education Act

If her nomination is approved, DeVos also will play a role in the overdue reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.

In a tweet calling DeVos “an excellent choice,” Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, said he looks forward “to working with her on the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, giving us an opportunity to clear out the jungle of red tape that makes it more difficult for students to obtain financial aid and for administrators to manage America’s 6,000 colleges and universities.”

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., ranking member on the committee, said in a statement that she is looking “forward to meeting with Betsy DeVos and talking to her about her vision for the Department of Education and whether and how it includes expanding access to educational opportunities for students across the country.”

Murray specifically included higher education and a number of policy areas DeVos will surely address: “And any Secretary of Education needs to be ready to get to work with us to make college more affordable, tackle the crushing burden of student loan debt, and fight back against the scourge of campus sexual harassment, assault and violence.”

Laura Ascione