Briefing on Higher Education Agenda

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How can ED help America reach President Obama’s goal of having the “best educated, most competitive workforce in the world” by 2020?

Earlier this month, Under Secretary Martha Kanter and her management team discussed this in a briefing with ED staff.

They discussed the President’s commitment to increase access to – and success in — higher education by restructuring and dramatically expanding college financial aid.  They also talked about making federal aid programs simpler, more reliable, and more efficient for students.

Kanter explained how different states are tracking their progress towards the college completion goal.

Obama Administration's Agenda for Higher Education

Bill Taggart, chief operating officer for Federal Student Aid, presented an update on postsecondary institutions’ transition from the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program to Direct Lending.  He also discussed how the move to direct lending will allow ED to fund more Pell Grants at higher amounts — making higher education more accessible to more students, at a lower cost.

The Transition to Direct Lending

Brenda Dann-Messier, assistant secretary for adult and vocational education, spoke about ED’s programs to engage adult learners to meet the President’s goals.  She talked about the Department’s longstanding efforts, including programs for English language acquisition, basic literacy and numeracy skills, and GED completion, as well as new efforts conducted in partnership with the Department of Labor.

Helping Adult Learners

For more discussion of the ED’s higher education agenda, read Under Secretary Kanter’s remarks during this year’s commencement exercises at Rhodes State College.