Chief Operating Officer, Office of Federal Student Aid: Who Is William Taggart?

Monday, August 31, 2009

On June 1, 2009, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan appointed William J. Taggart to be chief operating officer (COO) of the department's Federal Student Aid office (FSA). FSA is a Performance Based Organization (PBO), which is intended to create incentives for high performance and accountability for results, while allowing more flexibility to promote innovation and increased efficiency. 

Born in December 1961, Taggart earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Howard University in 1984 and an MBA from Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration in 1991. 
Taggart has spent his entire 24 year career in the for-profit private business sector of the economy, working mainly for large companies in the financial industry. He started his career in 1984 at IBM as a Program Manager, working in Bethesda, Maryland, and at corporate headquarters in Armonk, New York. Taggart left IBM in 1989 to return to school, returning in June 1991 as a Senior Engagement Manager with IBM Consulting Group, where he remained for nearly four years. 
Relocating to Charlotte, North Carolina, in May 1995, Taggart, as Director of Strategic Support Services, helped to found an internal consulting unit for former banking giant First Union, with whom he remained for four and a half years, when First Union merged with Wachovia. After the merger, Taggart received the title Chief Administrative Officer at Wachovia Insurance Group, where he remained for two years. He then joined Pivot/Info-One, a wholly owned subsidiary of Wachovia Insurance that provides web-based insurance and annuity sales information products and services. He was co-President from March 2001 through July 2003. Taggart then returned to Wachovia proper, as Chief Operating Officer of Corporate and Investment Banking at Wachovia Securities, LLC, where he stayed for nearly five years, from August 2003 to June 2008. After thirteen years with Wachovia, Taggart finally left to found his own company, Veritas One Consulting, LLC, a Charlotte-based consulting firm focusing on healthcare, financial services and government. 
Taggart will certainly have his work cut out for him. President Obama’s proposed 2010 budget would significantly expand federal student aid programs. Under the proposal, the Department of Education would administer more than $129 billion in new grants, loans, and work-study assistance in 2010—a 32 percent increase over the amount available in 2008—to help more than 14 million students and their families pay for college. A major initiative of the plan, fiercely opposed by the banking industry, is for all new parent and student loans to be issued directly from the government rather than through private lenders. This change would save taxpayers an estimated $4 billion a year that will be directed to Federal Pell Grants and other aid for needy students.
A Democrat, Taggart has donated $6,800 to Democratic candidates since 1996, including $4,600 to the presidential campaign of Barack Obama. 
- Matt Bewig
Obama Student Loan Plan Wins Support in House (by David Herszenhorn, New York Times)


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