Kvaal nominated for ED under secretary

President Joe Biden has nominated James Kvaal as under secretary at the U.S. Education Department (ED). The position oversees higher education policies, procedures and programs at the department.

James Kvaal

Kvaal is president of the Institute for College Access & Success and previously taught at the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy. Prior to that, he was deputy domestic policy adviser at the White House during the Obama administration, where he worked on a range of issues related to economic opportunity. He was instrumental in developing the gainful employment framework in the Obama administration, and it was during this time that ED rolled out the initial College Scorecard in 2015.

Kvaal has also supported community colleges.

“We don’t value community colleges and regional universities that are inclusive and affordable and higher in quality,” Kvaal said during a 2019 House Education and Labor Committee on college cost.

Kvaal has also previously served in senior roles at ED and at both the House and Senate, including ED’s deputy under secretary from June 2010 to September 2011.

Members of the Washington Higher Education Secretariat — which comprises CEOs from 50-plus associations, including the American Association of Community Colleges — sent their congratulations to Kvaal via Twitter.

“We look forward to working with you!” the Twitter post said.

​​“This is a terrific nomination for students, colleges and universities, and the entire country. President Biden could not have made a better choice,” added Ted Mitchell, president of the American Council on Education, who previously was ED under secretary from 2014 to January 2017.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
is editor of Community College Daily and serves as publications director for the American Association of Community Colleges.