NAICU Washington Update

Kvaal Confirmed as Under Secretary of Education

September 16, 2021

This week, the Senate confirmed James Kvaal as the next Under Secretary of Education by a vote of 58-37. The Under Secretary serves as the top higher education post at the Department of Education and is responsible for coordinating policies, programs, and activities related to postsecondary education, career-technical education, adult education, federal student aid, and the White House Initiatives on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The Under Secretary is also responsible for executing the Biden Administration’s higher education and student aid agenda.

President Biden announced Kvaal’s nomination last February and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions approved his nomination on a 19-3 vote in April. However, his vote was held up for months by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) over her differences with the Administration on student debt. 

Kvaal previously served as the president of The Institute for College Access and Success.

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