In a development that creates a new post for the new Biden administration to fill, Mark A. Brown, the chief operating officer of the Federal Student Aid program, stepped down on Friday, May 5. Brown was controversial, because under him the student loan bank had garnished the wages of thousands of delinquent student loan borrowers during the pandemic.
Brown was a retired major general in the U.S. Air Force (USAF). Before coming to the Education Department under President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Brown had served as the deputy commander for the Air Education and Training Command. There he was responsible for Air Force education, as well as basic and technical training.
Although at law, Brown could have stayed in his office for another year or until fired for cause, the more progressive elements of the coalition that put Biden into the White House were very eager to see him depart well before the end of his term.
The Thing to Know:
There is $1.6 trillion in the nation’s student loan portfolio. Since higher education is so often seen as a ticket for rise into, or retention of one’s place within, the middle class, and since relatively few families can afford such an education without assistance, this job is politically sensitive even beyond what that dollar figure might indicate.