Education Department Fills Top Postsecondary Job
The U.S. Department of Education now has an assistant secretary for postsecondary education, thanks to recent Senate action.
The Senate in March approved the nomination of Sally Stroup for the post, the senior college and university slot at the Education Department. A longtime congressional aide in the House of Representatives, Stroup has had strong support from education advocates. She has served as a consultant to the Education Department since her nomination last fall.
Stroup’s nomination was not controversial, but delays in the selection and confirmation process had prompted concern among educators, particularly after the administration and the Senate had moved quickly to nominate and confirm K-12 appointments in 2001. The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks also caused delays in processing the background checks and other paperwork required for sub-Cabinet appointments.
But with Stroup in place, administration officials say they soon will set the groundwork for next year’s reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.
“I expect that Sally’s experience in working with the higher education community and in guiding the 1998 Higher Education Amendments through the Congress will enable the department to play a strong leadership role during this reauthorization process,” says William Hansen, deputy secretary of education.
For the Education Department, the review process will begin with a series of town meetings nationwide, starting this month in Baltimore, Hansen says. The postsecondary office also will set up a Web page for individuals to submit ideas for the reauthorization, which affects virtually all aspects of higher education policy including student loans, grants and outreach programs.
As assistant secretary, Stroup will serve as the principal adviser to the secretary on all matters related to postsecondary education. She will coordinate programs relating to financial assistance for eligible students enrolled in higher education institutions and recommend policies to recruit and prepare disadvantaged students to enroll and complete postsecondary programs.
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