09.14.21

Senate Confirms James Kvaal to Serve as Under Secretary of Education

Senate votes to confirm James Kvaal by a bipartisan vote of 58-37.

 

Senator Murray: “Students across the country deserve leaders who are committed to addressing these urgent problems—and who will work to always put students and borrowers first. I believe James Kvaal is exactly that kind of leader.”

 

***WATCH SENATOR MURRAY’S FLOOR REMARKS HERE***

 

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, the Senate voted to confirm James Kvaal to serve as Under Secretary of the Department of Education (ED) by a bipartisan vote of 58-37. In remarks on the Senate floor, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, reiterated her strong support for Mr. Kvaal, who has a long record working to build a more equitable higher education system for students.

 

“Students across the country deserve leaders who are committed to addressing these urgent problems—and who will work to always put students and borrowers first. I believe James Kvaal is exactly that kind of leader,” said Senator Murray during floor remarks.

 

In her remarks, Senator Murray noted Mr. Kvaal’s experience as President of The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS) and his public service as Deputy Under Secretary of Education and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council during the Obama Administration, where he expanded investments in the Pell Grant and helped to strengthen college accountability. Senator Murray emphasized that having strong leadership at the Department of Education is critical to tackling the many challenges impacting higher education students, and that James Kvaal’s deep commitment to students will ensure that our nation’s higher education system works for everyone.

 

Senator Murray continued, “To me it’s clear a vote to confirm Mr. Kvaal is a vote to support our students and borrowers and help build a stronger, more equitable higher education system.”

 

Senator Murray’s opening remarks, as prepared for delivery, are below:

 

“Thank you, M. President.

 

“Right now, many students in higher education across the country are back on campus for the start of a new school year.

 

“And though I know so many of them are excited to finally be able to return to their classrooms and their friends there are still so many challenges in higher education we need to tackle immediately, including keeping our students safe and healthy as the COVID-19 crisis continues.

 

“We also cannot lose sight of the fact that student debt is at a historic high—as borrowers across the country are drowning in student debt.

 

“The cost of higher education continues to rise—forcing students to give up on higher education dreams simply because they can’t afford it.

 

“Predatory for-profit colleges continue to target first-generation students, students of color, and our veterans.

 

“And across the country, campus sexual assault, harassment and discrimination, and systemic racism leave too many students feeling unsafe in their own school communities.

 

“Students across the country deserve leaders who are committed to addressing these urgent problems—and who will work to always put students and borrowers first.

 

“I believe James Kvaal is exactly that kind of leader and I urge all of my colleagues to join me in supporting his nomination to serve as Under Secretary of Education.

 

“Mr. Kvaal’s background reflects a deep commitment to our nation’s students—and the experience needed to hit the ground running on Day 1.

 

“As President of The Institute for College Access and Success, Mr. Kvaal fought to improve student outcomes and quality, reform federal and state financial aid, support student loan borrowers, and increase state and federal investments in higher education.

 

“He also has a long record in public service, including as Deputy Under Secretary of Education and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council in the Obama Administration where he helped strengthen college accountability, expanded investments in the Pell Grant, and worked to ensure students have critical information about the outcomes of the colleges and universities they might attend.

 

“To me it’s clear a vote to confirm Mr. Kvaal is a vote to support our students and borrowers and help build a stronger, more equitable higher education system.

 

“Thank you, M. President, and I yield the floor.”

 

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