November 28, 2018

Warren Leads Members of HELP Committee in Calling for a Hearing on Nominee for Critical Education Department Post

Warren and colleagues request hearing to examine the record of Bob King, President Trump’s nominee to become the Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education

Text of the Letter (PDF) | Senator Warren's QFRs (PDF)

Washington, D.C. - United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) led her fellow Democrats on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and Tim Kaine (D-Va.), in sending a letter to Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) to request a hearing on the nomination of Robert “Bob” L. King to become the Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education at the United States Department of Education.

“As student debt continues to rise, and as college becomes more and more unaffordable and inaccessible for hardworking Americans, it is critical that the Senate confirm someone for this important post with a specific and compelling vision for the role the Department should play in helping Americans struggling with student loan debt and making college more affordable, accessible, and accountable to students and taxpayers, and safe for all students,” Senator Warren and her colleagues wrote. “The American people deserve to know where Mr. King stands on these issues.”

The Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education has critical leadership and oversight responsibilities for the three major program units in the Department's Office of Postsecondary Education: Higher Education Programs; International and Foreign Language Education; and Policy, Planning and Innovation. These program units administer grant programs focused on college readiness, campus-based child care, graduate fellowships, and programs supporting low income, first-generation students, and individuals with disabilities, including federal TRIO and GEAR UP programs.

This office also oversees higher education accreditation at the Department and administers the review process for accreditation agencies to ensure that federally-recognized accreditors adequately perform their quality assurance and Title IV gatekeeping responsibilities in accordance with federal standards and regulations.

The Education Department has recently been the subject of widespread criticism for its decision to fully re-instate ACICS, the controversial gatekeeper of for-profit schools.

In October, Senator Warren called on Secretary DeVos to release documents related to this decision, citing concerns that the Department may have deliberately falsified evidence in its endorsement of ACICS.

The decision to reinstate ACICS is just one of many of the Department’s recent actions that have directly and indirectly harmed students and deserve greater scrutiny in the United States Senate.

Senator Warren also submitted questions for the record, in order to gain more information about Mr. King’s qualifications and positions on issues that matter most to American students.