Located within the Department of Education, The Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) formulates and administers federal postsecondary education policy and programs. Aimed at creating equity in, and improving the quality of, higher education, OPE initiatives generally fall into three areas of concentration: policy and planning, minority and disadvantaged students, and accreditation. The Office also administers Federal Student Aid programs, grants for institutions serving low-income and minority students, and international education programs including the Fulbright.
in the FY 2009 proposal
Stakeholders include students, teachers/professors and others in the postsecondary education system; underprivileged, minority and low-income college students; Historically Black and Hispanic-serving Universities; international students and U.S. students who study abroad; pre-college students at risk of not attending college; accrediting agencies, peers and constituents, postsecondary education lobbyists, Congress, etc.
(by Paul Basken, Chronicle of Higher Education)
Since June 2012, Department of Education veteran David A. Bergeron has been the acting deputy assistant secretary of Education and director of the Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE). OPE formulates and administers federal postsecondary education policy and programs covering several areas, including accreditation, Federal Student Aid programs, grants for institutions serving low-income and minority students, and international education programs. Bergeron succeeded Eduardo M. Ochoa, who served from July 2010 to June 2012.
Born circa 1956, Bergeron earned a B.A. political science and sociology at the University of Rhode Island in 1978. He then worked for a bank in the consumer loan department before joining the Department of Education.
At the Department of Education, Bergeron served as director of the Policy and Budget Development Staff in OPE from 1998 to 2010, and as acting deputy assistant secretary for Policy, Planning, and Innovation beginning in March 2011.
While serving as director of the budget development staff, Bergeron was in contact with hedge fund analyst and short-seller Steve Eisman, who complained to Bergeron that the rumored weakening of regulations pertaining to for-profit colleges was driving up stocks in companies that owned such colleges. Because Eisman was a short-seller who profited when stocks went down, he wanted the stricter proposed restrictions reinstated, in particular a gainful employment rule requiring for-profit schools to demonstrate that their graduates were actually able to find meaningful employment, a problem for many of their students
In 2011, Bergeron was accused of lying about the Department of Education’s awareness of the activities of Eisman and other short-sellers.
Bergeron is a member of the Eastern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.
-Matt Bewig, David Wallechinsky
Fraud and Distance Education (by David A. Bergeron) (pdf)
NLPC Calls for SEC Probe of Education Short-Selling Scheme (by Ken Boehm, National Legal and Policy Center)
Changing the Rules at For-Profit Schools (by Kevin Quealy, New York Times)
Eduardo M. Ochoa, a top administrator at Sonoma State University in California, was selected on February 23, 2010, by President Barack Obama to run the Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education, which administers most of the federal government’s programs for colleges and college students.