Department of Education Makes Changes and See Changes This Week

Martha J. Kanter, Leaves Education Department

Under Secretary of Education Martha J. Kanter, who was the Obama administration’s highest-ranking higher education official, is the latest official to leave office. In an email to colleagues Tuesday evening she wrote that she would “return to academia” this fall, but provided no details about where that would be.

Kanter leaves the department at a time when, as she described it in her email, the administration has an “ambitious statutory, regulatory and administrative agenda.” On that agenda would be the department’s renewal of the Higher Education Act and fixing the “gainful employment” mess. Read more here.

Obama Plans Bus Tour to Address College Tuition

The Associate Press reported this week that President Obama is planning a bus tour next week to Binghamton, Buffalo and Syracuse, New York and Northern Pennsylvania to talk about college tuitions and costs.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest says Obama will explain his ideas for reducing costs and improving value on his bus tour. Look for the President to outline an aggressive strategy on college costs that will give Americans the training they need in our ever-changing economy. A first step in his plan came last week when Obama signed a bipartisan bill to restore lower student loan interest rates.

PLUS Loan Changes Coming

Black lawmakers have been pressuring the Obama administration about PLUS loans, saying large numbers of previously eligible applicants have been denied aid under tighter credit rules.

In a letter obtained by the Associated Press, the Education Department says it has expanded support for families that have recent but small-scale debt, so that they may now become eligible for PLUS loans through appeals.

The changes are outlined in a letter to the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Democratic congresswoman Marcia Fudge of Ohio.

By Marc Apple