Bookmark and Share
Overview:

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.

more
History:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The original Department of Education dates back to 1867, and certain OPE programs continue the mission of successive operations in the Department’s history. However, most OPE authority and programs derive from the Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) and Higher Education Acts (HEA), both passed in 1965. The Title I program of the ESE provided for Federal aid to reach disadvantaged children in poor urban and rural areas, and the HEA authorized assistance for postsecondary education, including financial aid for college students. The Department of Education was established as a Cabinet-level agency in1980.
 
Most OPE programs and initiatives derive their authority from the Higher Education Act of 1965 (authorized and amended in 1998). See the (PDF) version here, in Title 20, Chapter 28 of U.S. Code or the full text of the 1998 Amendments.
 

Opening the Doors to Higher Education: Perspectives on the Higher Education Act

(PDF)

 

more
What it Does:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OPE administers a wide range of programs and initiatives aimed at improving access to quality postsecondary education. Federal Student Aid provides financial assistance for college students; OPE’s TRIO and GEAR UP programs assist disadvantaged students “prepare for, enter and succeed in higher education;” and the Fund for Postsecondary Education is designed to stimulate and reward innovation to improve the quality of higher education. OPE grant programs provide assistance to institutions that serve low-income and minority students, including Hispanic-serving and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. International education programs, such as the Fulbright, are also under direction of the OPE.
 
Policy
Within the OPE, the division of Policy, Planning, and Innovation (PPI) is responsible for the agency’s budget, and policy and legislative proposals, as well as some data collections. PPI is also responsible for the Secretary's Annual Report on Teacher Quality, strategic planning, program forecast and performance oversight, as well as administration of Hurricane Education Recovery Awards. The Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education “provides grants to colleges and universities to promote reform, innovation, and improvement in postsecondary education.”
 
Minority Issues
OPE’s Higher Education Programs (HEP) address minority issues in postsecondary education. HEP include programs that increase access to postsecondary education for disadvantaged students, strengthen the capacity of colleges and universities that serve a high percentage of disadvantaged students, and provide teacher and student development resources. HEP also administers international education and foreign language studies programs.
 
Accreditation
The Department of Education does not accredit institutions or programs, but rather regulates standards and procedures for U.S. accreditation. The agency is also legally required to publish a list of nationally recognized accrediting agencies. (Agencies are “private educational associations of regional or national scope, [that] develop evaluation criteria and conduct peer evaluations to assess whether or not those criteria are met. Institutions and/or programs that request an agency’s evaluation and that meet an agency’s criteria are then ‘accredited’ by that agency”). At the state level, The Department recognizes state agencies that approve public postsecondary vocational and nurse education.
 
The Accreditation and State Liaison (ASL) is responsible for “the accrediting agency recognition process and for the coordination of activities between states and the U.S. Department of Education that impact institutional participation in the federal financial assistance programs.” The Postsecondary Educational Institutions and Programs Accredited by Accrediting Agencies and State Approval Agencies Recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education list is a searchable database for accredited institutions.
 
Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG) and National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (National SMART Grant) Programs - Program Information and Overview - Year-one Data for AC and National SMART Grants.
 
 
TRIO
The Federal TRIO programs are designed to “motivate and support” students from disadvantaged backgrounds.” TRIO includes six outreach and support programs that assist low-income, first-generation college students, and those with disabilities, to progress through the academic system—particularly from middle-school to the post-baccalaureate programs. The program group also includes training initiatives for teachers and staff and a “dissemination partnership” to encourage adoption of similar practices at non-grantee institutions.
 
Student Financial Assistance Program Data - Includes annual summary data for the federal Pell, Campus-Based and Loans Programs, quarterly updates of student loan volumes, other federal student aid program data, and links to other federal data and statistical resources.
 
Further Reading: Students with Disabilities and PSE

Programs Proposed for Elimination

in the FY 2009 proposal

 

more
Where Does the Money Go:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

more
Controversies:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earmarks
Funding watchdogs take issue with the effectiveness and transparency of Congressional earmarks, including for education. In a March 2008 posting on the Ed Money Watch blog, the OPE is identified as receiving the most earmarks in the DOE. Excerpt below:
Last week, the Chronicle of Higher Education published a database of higher education earmarks for fiscal year 2008. A number of the earmarks are related to K-12 initiatives at colleges and universities, and many of the programs sound valuable and work toward positive goals. Members of Congress are certainly skilled at justifying them. But don't let these justifications sway you—earmarks mean no accountability to taxpayers and no concrete proof of program effectiveness.
 
The Office of Postsecondary Education routinely receives the most earmarks in the Department of Education, including some for K-12 initiatives such as teacher training programs. The Chronicle database also includes higher education earmarks distributed through the Office of Innovation and Improvement's Fund for the Improvement of Education (FIE), such as grants to support partnerships between colleges and local school systems.
Earmarks Galore! More Transparency, But Still Flourishing (by Lindsey Luebchow, Ed Money Watch)
 
Upward Bound
In March 2008, the Department of Education ceased a controversial study on the “Upward Bound” program, which helps prepare first generation and low-income students for college. Begun in 2007, the study was designed to measure whether narrowing the focus to students considered less likely to pursue higher education would make the program more effective. Critics called the study—which required grantees to enroll twice as many students as normal and assign one half to a control group—unethical, even immoral, for recruiting disadvantaged students and then denying them entry for the purpose of determining numbers.
 
The study was initiated by Larry Oxedine, a former director of the OPE’s TRIO programs, who based the evaluation plan on research that found that Upward Bound only seemed to benefit students with low expectations of attending college. According to press reports, Oxedine concluded Upward Bound had lost its focus, serving a disproportionate number of high-achieving students who could be better served in another, less-expensive TRIO program, Talent Search.
 
Critics, headed by the Council for Opportunity in Education, a lobbying group for the TRIO programs, fought to kill the study. Congress passes an Omnibus bill for FY 2008 prohibiting the agency from spending on it, and under pressure of the surrounding controversy, Assistant Secretary Jones agreed to halt the program in February 2008.
Education Dept. to End Controversial Study of Upward Bound (by Kelly Field, Chronicle of Higher Education)
 
Government Hires Media Commentator
 
Sallie Mae/ FOIA

Sallie Mae Abandons Effort to Compel Colleges to Give Up Students' Addresses

(by Paul Basken, Chronicle of Higher Education)

 

more
Suggested Reforms:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At least since the Reagan years, Republican administrations have attempted to abolish the Department of Education, including the OPE’s higher education programs.
 

 

more
Debate:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher Ed Funding and HEA
Debate over funding for higher education has historically fallen along partisan lines, with Democrats advocating more liberal spending and Republicans looking to dismantle federal assistance infrastructure. The rising cost of college tuition, room and board—about 65% (adjusted for inflation) between 1996 and 2006—has stirred the debate over higher education. National Center for Education Statistics Fast Facts
 
While the Bush Administration has arguably increased funding in some areas for the Department of Education (including the controversial No Child Left Behind Act), many programs have been cut and Congress continues to parse HEA provisions. Lawmakers from both sides have recently called for increased oversight of spending at the postsecondary level. In February 2008, the House of Representatives passed legislation to renew the Higher Education Act, with bipartisan support. With all parties increasingly concerned with the inhibitive costs of higher education, Democrats joined Republicans in supporting a measure (House Bill H.R. 4137) that would pressure institutions to keep a tighter grip on costs and spending. Citing racial bias and disapproval with a diminished Secretarial accreditation authority, the Bush Administration has expressed initial opposition to provisions in both House and Senate versions of the College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007 (H.R. 4137).
 
Federal aid advocates decry spending cuts, while libertarian groups like The Heritage Foundation, continue to argue that federal spending on higher education fails to help make it affordable, as “colleges and universities just consume this additional revenue.”
For N.C. Voters, Higher Ed is a Hot Issue (by Tim Simmons, News & Observer)
U.S. bill specifies state higher ed spending (by Pauline Vu, Stateline.org)
House, Focusing on Cost, Approves Higher Education Act (by Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed)
Economist Says U.S. Spends Too Much on Higher Education (by JJ Hermes, Chronicle of Higher Education)
 
Right (pro-downsizing)
The Facts on Federal Education Spending (by Dan Lips, Heritage Foundation)
 
Left (pro-spending)
From Bad to Worse (by Doug Lederman, Insider Higher Ed)
Accreditation
Explaining the Accreditation Debate (by Doug Lederman, Insider Higher Ed)

 

more
Former Directors:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

more

Comments

Gloria Metzger 6 months ago
Are you aware, that our ED deficit is caused from Navient's neglect to reviewing forms sent in by borrowers or "Third" party companies?. Did you know, Navient knowingly helps "third"party (scam) companies steal your identity, allows government documents to be falsified on criminal levels and then blames the borrows? Making statements to consumers, they do not condone "third" party scam companies; when in fact they clearly do, by not regularly auditing forms to catch inconsistent information. If Navient had better business practices and was monitored closely by our Department of Education; since DOE created them, they would have found the evidence very easily. Just by performing audits on regular basis to accounts borrowers have. Navient/DOE allows identity theft, forgery, money laundry, racketeering, mental and emotional abuse to happen and then profits off of what they are doing to consumers. If these "third" party scam companies are such a problem, why are all forms approved with out auditing previous forms sent in? Our DOE trusty servicer has access to every single persons credit in the U.S. and can change it any time, why aren't these things caught sooner to help "protect" consumers by just looking at claims made on these forms? No matter what you do, you have to use your S.S.#, so looking to see if someone moved out of state or lost their job; so why isn't Navient held responsible for allowing the "scam" to falsify government documents? If a borrow knowingly falsified government documents, we would be caught a prosecuted immediately but not our DOE trusty servicer. Navient doesn't even help with the deficit or even the borrows but instead makes it worse; running our country into the ground in just one area of this countries issues; and our very own DOE allows it to happen. Why doesn't the Credit Bureaus help the government when it comes to stuff hitting a consumers credit to catch error such as this? A debt that no matter what, has to be repaid. Not only can I prove my statements but how are consumers suppose to trust our government when they allow such poor business practice with in their walls? How can our DOE not be held responsible for such criminal acts when you created this horrible company to service your loans. I never even authorized my consolidation with Navient but they instead came in a took my loans and threw me to the wolves. A single mother that took a chance to better her self and wanted to pay off my debt. I already knew what they were going to do to our countries education system and 5 years later, I was right. With more than a trillion dollars on the books for student loan debt, you would think Mrs. Betsy would look into the real problem and put a stop to it. If you want to see results in what our DOE is supposedly trying to do with removing student loan debt, look at your biggest problem; look into the mess you created or maybe, you should look into your investors portfolio of companies they own. Look at how our stock market and treasury department is used to money launder the U.S. currency out of the states. Secondary/Higher Education is a joke in this country and DOE should be very ashamed of allowing such criminal acts to be done on borrows wanting to better their selves. I was a borrow repaying their debt for years and I was rewarded for it with $20,000+ in interest, out thousands of dollars I did pay on my student loans, negative marks and negative remarks on my credit. With even deeming me a risk for credit on my very first home loan and with amazing payment history on any credit I have/had for the last 5 year; but now this damn student loan is more than 75% of my so called "debt". It is disgusting what Navient does to people and it's even worse to watch our government allow it.
Stephen C. Peralta 3 years ago
I have enrolled in the Glendale Community College twice and tries to get financial aid to pay for my classes. Three times my scheduled classes have been drop due to non-payment because they selected to pick on me about verification and re-verification because my mother is a dislocated worker on food stamps, who is also a full-time student working on a doctorate degree, and she is also a teacher that is being discriminated against as well due to identity theft, and because we have cruel enemies. I filled out the FAFSA student aid form in January 2015 and qualified for financial aid but this never shows up at the Glendale Comm. College financial aid report and they always want me to make a payment plan using a credit card, or check which I can not do. They are blocking me from access to my awarded financial aid, and they played similar blockage games with my older sister when she used to be in attendance there. I feel like this is discrimination going on because I filled out all forms for verification and re-verification and yet my classes get cancelled and no evidence of me having met all requirements is acknowledge in its entirety. There needs to be an investigation about this matter. I feel someone is trying to steer me away from attendance at this college. We were asked how we got the name Peralta, and how did we live and make it on so little finances in 2014. Well it is God who is taking care of us and we live with my grandmother because my mother has been blacklisted from employment as a teacher in her chosen profession and because she reported certain folks to the Attorney General(s). The fact is my Constitutional Rights, Academic Rights and Civil Rights are being violated when I am in compliance and told to make a payment schedule or agreement as if I have money to pay out of pocket, with no evidence that my financial aid award is pending, It is a woven trap to ensnare me into a cancellation plot due to non-payment. This has happened at least three times now, It just happened again on 01/109/2016.
LM 4 years ago
Where should students send complaints?

Leave a comment

Founded: 1980
Annual Budget: $2.112 billion
Employees: 205 (2006)
Office of Postsecondary Education
Mahaffie, Lynn B.
Assistant Secretary

Lynn Mahaffie has led the Office of Postsecondary Education since 2015 from her post as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Planning and Innovation in the Department of Education.

 

Mahaffie is from Bethesda, Maryland, where she attended Walt Whitman High School and graduated in 1983. She went to nearby George Washington University, earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1987, then attended University of Pennsylvania law school, graduating in 1990.

 

The early part of Mahaffie’s career was spent working in a Washington, D.C., law firm. She joined the Education Department in 2002, first as director of the Teacher and Student Development Programs Service. In 2010, she was named chief of staff for higher education programs, and acted as deputy assistant secretary of that office for about a year.

 

Mahaffie was named senior director of the Policy Coordination, Development and Accreditation Service in October 2011. During her tenure, she served as acting deputy assistant secretary for higher education programs at Policy Planning and Innovation from 2013 to 2014, and acting assistant secretary for postsecondary education from 2014 into 2015.

 

Mahaffie has been forced to defend her office’s role in overseeing the accreditation of some failing institutions, such as for-profit colleges that have gone bankrupt. She also helped roll out an expansion of the Clery Act, which mandates that crimes related to sexual assault be reported by institutions of higher education that receive federal funding.

 

Mahaffie is married and has two daughters.

-Steve Straehley

 

To Learn More:

Official Biography

more
Miller, Ericka
Previous Assistant Secretary

 

On November 11, 2013, President Barack Obama nominated Ericka M. Miller to be the assistant secretary for Postsecondary Education in the Department of Education. Her nomination was approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on January 29, 2014. If confirmed by the full Senate, Miller will be in charge of the Office of Postsecondary Education, which develops policy for and administers programs benefiting postsecondary education, in particular issues relating to minority and disadvantaged students, and accreditation. Among other responsibilities, the office oversees Federal Student Aid programs and Fulbright grants.

 

Miller is from Alexandria, Virginia, graduating from T.C. Williams High School in 1982. She attended Georgetown University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature in 1987. Miller remained in the Washington area after graduation, becoming an assistant managing editor of Washingtonian magazine, a post she held until 1990.

 

At that point, Miller began studies in English Literature at Stanford University. Her dissertation was later published as a book: The Other Reconstruction Where Violence and Womanhood Meet in the Writings of Ida B Wells-Barnett Angelina Weld Grimke and Nella Larsen--Studies in African American History and Culture. It examines works by three African-American women whose writings expose the economic, political, and social factors that sustained race violence in post-Reconstruction United States. Miller received her Ph.D. in 1996.

 

While in Northern California, Miller was an assistant professor at Mills College in Oakland from 1995 to 1997. Miller then returned to Washington, becoming a legislative assistant for education issues for Senator Bob Kerrey (D-Nebraska). She served in that position until 2001, when Kerrey left office.

 

In 2001, Miller went to work for The McKenzie Group, which is now part of American Institutes for Research. She began as director for its Division of Organizational Development and Government Relations and in 2002 was made president and chief operating officer, a post she held until 2005. She then moved to Isaacson, Miller, an executive recruiting and search firm. There, she was vice president and director in charge of the company’s K-12 education practice.

 

Since 2007, Miller has been vice president for Operations and Strategic Leadership at The Education Trust, which promotes academic achievement for students from pre-kindergarten through college. Miller is also a member of the National Council of Education and Human Development at George Washington University, the George Mason University College of Education and Human Development Advisory Board, and the Board of Trustees of the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria.

-Steve Straehley

more
Bookmark and Share
Overview:

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.

more
History:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The original Department of Education dates back to 1867, and certain OPE programs continue the mission of successive operations in the Department’s history. However, most OPE authority and programs derive from the Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) and Higher Education Acts (HEA), both passed in 1965. The Title I program of the ESE provided for Federal aid to reach disadvantaged children in poor urban and rural areas, and the HEA authorized assistance for postsecondary education, including financial aid for college students. The Department of Education was established as a Cabinet-level agency in1980.
 
Most OPE programs and initiatives derive their authority from the Higher Education Act of 1965 (authorized and amended in 1998). See the (PDF) version here, in Title 20, Chapter 28 of U.S. Code or the full text of the 1998 Amendments.
 

Opening the Doors to Higher Education: Perspectives on the Higher Education Act

(PDF)

 

more
What it Does:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OPE administers a wide range of programs and initiatives aimed at improving access to quality postsecondary education. Federal Student Aid provides financial assistance for college students; OPE’s TRIO and GEAR UP programs assist disadvantaged students “prepare for, enter and succeed in higher education;” and the Fund for Postsecondary Education is designed to stimulate and reward innovation to improve the quality of higher education. OPE grant programs provide assistance to institutions that serve low-income and minority students, including Hispanic-serving and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. International education programs, such as the Fulbright, are also under direction of the OPE.
 
Policy
Within the OPE, the division of Policy, Planning, and Innovation (PPI) is responsible for the agency’s budget, and policy and legislative proposals, as well as some data collections. PPI is also responsible for the Secretary's Annual Report on Teacher Quality, strategic planning, program forecast and performance oversight, as well as administration of Hurricane Education Recovery Awards. The Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education “provides grants to colleges and universities to promote reform, innovation, and improvement in postsecondary education.”
 
Minority Issues
OPE’s Higher Education Programs (HEP) address minority issues in postsecondary education. HEP include programs that increase access to postsecondary education for disadvantaged students, strengthen the capacity of colleges and universities that serve a high percentage of disadvantaged students, and provide teacher and student development resources. HEP also administers international education and foreign language studies programs.
 
Accreditation
The Department of Education does not accredit institutions or programs, but rather regulates standards and procedures for U.S. accreditation. The agency is also legally required to publish a list of nationally recognized accrediting agencies. (Agencies are “private educational associations of regional or national scope, [that] develop evaluation criteria and conduct peer evaluations to assess whether or not those criteria are met. Institutions and/or programs that request an agency’s evaluation and that meet an agency’s criteria are then ‘accredited’ by that agency”). At the state level, The Department recognizes state agencies that approve public postsecondary vocational and nurse education.
 
The Accreditation and State Liaison (ASL) is responsible for “the accrediting agency recognition process and for the coordination of activities between states and the U.S. Department of Education that impact institutional participation in the federal financial assistance programs.” The Postsecondary Educational Institutions and Programs Accredited by Accrediting Agencies and State Approval Agencies Recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education list is a searchable database for accredited institutions.
 
Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG) and National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (National SMART Grant) Programs - Program Information and Overview - Year-one Data for AC and National SMART Grants.
 
 
TRIO
The Federal TRIO programs are designed to “motivate and support” students from disadvantaged backgrounds.” TRIO includes six outreach and support programs that assist low-income, first-generation college students, and those with disabilities, to progress through the academic system—particularly from middle-school to the post-baccalaureate programs. The program group also includes training initiatives for teachers and staff and a “dissemination partnership” to encourage adoption of similar practices at non-grantee institutions.
 
Student Financial Assistance Program Data - Includes annual summary data for the federal Pell, Campus-Based and Loans Programs, quarterly updates of student loan volumes, other federal student aid program data, and links to other federal data and statistical resources.
 
Further Reading: Students with Disabilities and PSE

Programs Proposed for Elimination

in the FY 2009 proposal

 

more
Where Does the Money Go:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

more
Controversies:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earmarks
Funding watchdogs take issue with the effectiveness and transparency of Congressional earmarks, including for education. In a March 2008 posting on the Ed Money Watch blog, the OPE is identified as receiving the most earmarks in the DOE. Excerpt below:
Last week, the Chronicle of Higher Education published a database of higher education earmarks for fiscal year 2008. A number of the earmarks are related to K-12 initiatives at colleges and universities, and many of the programs sound valuable and work toward positive goals. Members of Congress are certainly skilled at justifying them. But don't let these justifications sway you—earmarks mean no accountability to taxpayers and no concrete proof of program effectiveness.
 
The Office of Postsecondary Education routinely receives the most earmarks in the Department of Education, including some for K-12 initiatives such as teacher training programs. The Chronicle database also includes higher education earmarks distributed through the Office of Innovation and Improvement's Fund for the Improvement of Education (FIE), such as grants to support partnerships between colleges and local school systems.
Earmarks Galore! More Transparency, But Still Flourishing (by Lindsey Luebchow, Ed Money Watch)
 
Upward Bound
In March 2008, the Department of Education ceased a controversial study on the “Upward Bound” program, which helps prepare first generation and low-income students for college. Begun in 2007, the study was designed to measure whether narrowing the focus to students considered less likely to pursue higher education would make the program more effective. Critics called the study—which required grantees to enroll twice as many students as normal and assign one half to a control group—unethical, even immoral, for recruiting disadvantaged students and then denying them entry for the purpose of determining numbers.
 
The study was initiated by Larry Oxedine, a former director of the OPE’s TRIO programs, who based the evaluation plan on research that found that Upward Bound only seemed to benefit students with low expectations of attending college. According to press reports, Oxedine concluded Upward Bound had lost its focus, serving a disproportionate number of high-achieving students who could be better served in another, less-expensive TRIO program, Talent Search.
 
Critics, headed by the Council for Opportunity in Education, a lobbying group for the TRIO programs, fought to kill the study. Congress passes an Omnibus bill for FY 2008 prohibiting the agency from spending on it, and under pressure of the surrounding controversy, Assistant Secretary Jones agreed to halt the program in February 2008.
Education Dept. to End Controversial Study of Upward Bound (by Kelly Field, Chronicle of Higher Education)
 
Government Hires Media Commentator
 
Sallie Mae/ FOIA

Sallie Mae Abandons Effort to Compel Colleges to Give Up Students' Addresses

(by Paul Basken, Chronicle of Higher Education)

 

more
Suggested Reforms:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At least since the Reagan years, Republican administrations have attempted to abolish the Department of Education, including the OPE’s higher education programs.
 

 

more
Debate:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher Ed Funding and HEA
Debate over funding for higher education has historically fallen along partisan lines, with Democrats advocating more liberal spending and Republicans looking to dismantle federal assistance infrastructure. The rising cost of college tuition, room and board—about 65% (adjusted for inflation) between 1996 and 2006—has stirred the debate over higher education. National Center for Education Statistics Fast Facts
 
While the Bush Administration has arguably increased funding in some areas for the Department of Education (including the controversial No Child Left Behind Act), many programs have been cut and Congress continues to parse HEA provisions. Lawmakers from both sides have recently called for increased oversight of spending at the postsecondary level. In February 2008, the House of Representatives passed legislation to renew the Higher Education Act, with bipartisan support. With all parties increasingly concerned with the inhibitive costs of higher education, Democrats joined Republicans in supporting a measure (House Bill H.R. 4137) that would pressure institutions to keep a tighter grip on costs and spending. Citing racial bias and disapproval with a diminished Secretarial accreditation authority, the Bush Administration has expressed initial opposition to provisions in both House and Senate versions of the College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007 (H.R. 4137).
 
Federal aid advocates decry spending cuts, while libertarian groups like The Heritage Foundation, continue to argue that federal spending on higher education fails to help make it affordable, as “colleges and universities just consume this additional revenue.”
For N.C. Voters, Higher Ed is a Hot Issue (by Tim Simmons, News & Observer)
U.S. bill specifies state higher ed spending (by Pauline Vu, Stateline.org)
House, Focusing on Cost, Approves Higher Education Act (by Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed)
Economist Says U.S. Spends Too Much on Higher Education (by JJ Hermes, Chronicle of Higher Education)
 
Right (pro-downsizing)
The Facts on Federal Education Spending (by Dan Lips, Heritage Foundation)
 
Left (pro-spending)
From Bad to Worse (by Doug Lederman, Insider Higher Ed)
Accreditation
Explaining the Accreditation Debate (by Doug Lederman, Insider Higher Ed)

 

more
Former Directors:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

more

Comments

Gloria Metzger 6 months ago
Are you aware, that our ED deficit is caused from Navient's neglect to reviewing forms sent in by borrowers or "Third" party companies?. Did you know, Navient knowingly helps "third"party (scam) companies steal your identity, allows government documents to be falsified on criminal levels and then blames the borrows? Making statements to consumers, they do not condone "third" party scam companies; when in fact they clearly do, by not regularly auditing forms to catch inconsistent information. If Navient had better business practices and was monitored closely by our Department of Education; since DOE created them, they would have found the evidence very easily. Just by performing audits on regular basis to accounts borrowers have. Navient/DOE allows identity theft, forgery, money laundry, racketeering, mental and emotional abuse to happen and then profits off of what they are doing to consumers. If these "third" party scam companies are such a problem, why are all forms approved with out auditing previous forms sent in? Our DOE trusty servicer has access to every single persons credit in the U.S. and can change it any time, why aren't these things caught sooner to help "protect" consumers by just looking at claims made on these forms? No matter what you do, you have to use your S.S.#, so looking to see if someone moved out of state or lost their job; so why isn't Navient held responsible for allowing the "scam" to falsify government documents? If a borrow knowingly falsified government documents, we would be caught a prosecuted immediately but not our DOE trusty servicer. Navient doesn't even help with the deficit or even the borrows but instead makes it worse; running our country into the ground in just one area of this countries issues; and our very own DOE allows it to happen. Why doesn't the Credit Bureaus help the government when it comes to stuff hitting a consumers credit to catch error such as this? A debt that no matter what, has to be repaid. Not only can I prove my statements but how are consumers suppose to trust our government when they allow such poor business practice with in their walls? How can our DOE not be held responsible for such criminal acts when you created this horrible company to service your loans. I never even authorized my consolidation with Navient but they instead came in a took my loans and threw me to the wolves. A single mother that took a chance to better her self and wanted to pay off my debt. I already knew what they were going to do to our countries education system and 5 years later, I was right. With more than a trillion dollars on the books for student loan debt, you would think Mrs. Betsy would look into the real problem and put a stop to it. If you want to see results in what our DOE is supposedly trying to do with removing student loan debt, look at your biggest problem; look into the mess you created or maybe, you should look into your investors portfolio of companies they own. Look at how our stock market and treasury department is used to money launder the U.S. currency out of the states. Secondary/Higher Education is a joke in this country and DOE should be very ashamed of allowing such criminal acts to be done on borrows wanting to better their selves. I was a borrow repaying their debt for years and I was rewarded for it with $20,000+ in interest, out thousands of dollars I did pay on my student loans, negative marks and negative remarks on my credit. With even deeming me a risk for credit on my very first home loan and with amazing payment history on any credit I have/had for the last 5 year; but now this damn student loan is more than 75% of my so called "debt". It is disgusting what Navient does to people and it's even worse to watch our government allow it.
Stephen C. Peralta 3 years ago
I have enrolled in the Glendale Community College twice and tries to get financial aid to pay for my classes. Three times my scheduled classes have been drop due to non-payment because they selected to pick on me about verification and re-verification because my mother is a dislocated worker on food stamps, who is also a full-time student working on a doctorate degree, and she is also a teacher that is being discriminated against as well due to identity theft, and because we have cruel enemies. I filled out the FAFSA student aid form in January 2015 and qualified for financial aid but this never shows up at the Glendale Comm. College financial aid report and they always want me to make a payment plan using a credit card, or check which I can not do. They are blocking me from access to my awarded financial aid, and they played similar blockage games with my older sister when she used to be in attendance there. I feel like this is discrimination going on because I filled out all forms for verification and re-verification and yet my classes get cancelled and no evidence of me having met all requirements is acknowledge in its entirety. There needs to be an investigation about this matter. I feel someone is trying to steer me away from attendance at this college. We were asked how we got the name Peralta, and how did we live and make it on so little finances in 2014. Well it is God who is taking care of us and we live with my grandmother because my mother has been blacklisted from employment as a teacher in her chosen profession and because she reported certain folks to the Attorney General(s). The fact is my Constitutional Rights, Academic Rights and Civil Rights are being violated when I am in compliance and told to make a payment schedule or agreement as if I have money to pay out of pocket, with no evidence that my financial aid award is pending, It is a woven trap to ensnare me into a cancellation plot due to non-payment. This has happened at least three times now, It just happened again on 01/109/2016.
LM 4 years ago
Where should students send complaints?

Leave a comment

Founded: 1980
Annual Budget: $2.112 billion
Employees: 205 (2006)
Office of Postsecondary Education
Mahaffie, Lynn B.
Assistant Secretary

Lynn Mahaffie has led the Office of Postsecondary Education since 2015 from her post as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Planning and Innovation in the Department of Education.

 

Mahaffie is from Bethesda, Maryland, where she attended Walt Whitman High School and graduated in 1983. She went to nearby George Washington University, earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1987, then attended University of Pennsylvania law school, graduating in 1990.

 

The early part of Mahaffie’s career was spent working in a Washington, D.C., law firm. She joined the Education Department in 2002, first as director of the Teacher and Student Development Programs Service. In 2010, she was named chief of staff for higher education programs, and acted as deputy assistant secretary of that office for about a year.

 

Mahaffie was named senior director of the Policy Coordination, Development and Accreditation Service in October 2011. During her tenure, she served as acting deputy assistant secretary for higher education programs at Policy Planning and Innovation from 2013 to 2014, and acting assistant secretary for postsecondary education from 2014 into 2015.

 

Mahaffie has been forced to defend her office’s role in overseeing the accreditation of some failing institutions, such as for-profit colleges that have gone bankrupt. She also helped roll out an expansion of the Clery Act, which mandates that crimes related to sexual assault be reported by institutions of higher education that receive federal funding.

 

Mahaffie is married and has two daughters.

-Steve Straehley

 

To Learn More:

Official Biography

more
Miller, Ericka
Previous Assistant Secretary

 

On November 11, 2013, President Barack Obama nominated Ericka M. Miller to be the assistant secretary for Postsecondary Education in the Department of Education. Her nomination was approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on January 29, 2014. If confirmed by the full Senate, Miller will be in charge of the Office of Postsecondary Education, which develops policy for and administers programs benefiting postsecondary education, in particular issues relating to minority and disadvantaged students, and accreditation. Among other responsibilities, the office oversees Federal Student Aid programs and Fulbright grants.

 

Miller is from Alexandria, Virginia, graduating from T.C. Williams High School in 1982. She attended Georgetown University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature in 1987. Miller remained in the Washington area after graduation, becoming an assistant managing editor of Washingtonian magazine, a post she held until 1990.

 

At that point, Miller began studies in English Literature at Stanford University. Her dissertation was later published as a book: The Other Reconstruction Where Violence and Womanhood Meet in the Writings of Ida B Wells-Barnett Angelina Weld Grimke and Nella Larsen--Studies in African American History and Culture. It examines works by three African-American women whose writings expose the economic, political, and social factors that sustained race violence in post-Reconstruction United States. Miller received her Ph.D. in 1996.

 

While in Northern California, Miller was an assistant professor at Mills College in Oakland from 1995 to 1997. Miller then returned to Washington, becoming a legislative assistant for education issues for Senator Bob Kerrey (D-Nebraska). She served in that position until 2001, when Kerrey left office.

 

In 2001, Miller went to work for The McKenzie Group, which is now part of American Institutes for Research. She began as director for its Division of Organizational Development and Government Relations and in 2002 was made president and chief operating officer, a post she held until 2005. She then moved to Isaacson, Miller, an executive recruiting and search firm. There, she was vice president and director in charge of the company’s K-12 education practice.

 

Since 2007, Miller has been vice president for Operations and Strategic Leadership at The Education Trust, which promotes academic achievement for students from pre-kindergarten through college. Miller is also a member of the National Council of Education and Human Development at George Washington University, the George Mason University College of Education and Human Development Advisory Board, and the Board of Trustees of the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria.

-Steve Straehley

more