Betsy DeVos tapped the CEO of a for-profit student loan servicing company to head the federal student loan agency, but that key part of his resume was omitted from the agency’s press release.
After the sudden, unexplained resignation of James Runcie from the Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA), Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has appointed A. Wayne Johnson to be the Chief Operating Officer of the FSA. Johnson has an extensive resume, but his most notable position was the CEO of Reunion Financial Services. However, according to The Hill, Johnson’s time at Reunion was omitted from a release issued by the U.S. Department of Education announcing his hiring.
In the release, Johnson is described as “a highly regarded leader with more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry and holds a Ph.D. in higher education leadership.” However, nowhere in the release is it mentioned that Johnson runs a for-profit company that directly benefits from federal student loans.
“I have a profound appreciation for and recognition of the critical role FSA plays in advancing educational attainment by students in our nation’s institutions of higher education,” Johnson said in the release. “It is with a deep and sincere commitment to the millions of current and future Federal Student Aid clients that I look forward to accepting responsibility and accountability for the policies, actions and practices of FSA.”
Betsy DeVos’ tenure at the Department of Education has been marred with controversy, as she’s made numerous decisions that benefit lenders at the expense of student borrowers. In April, Secretary DeVos repealed protections for borrowers instituted near the end of the Obama administration that required FSA to renegotiate contracts with debtors’ best interests in mind, and to refuse contracts with companies reported for gouging and misleading borrowers.
Jamie Green is a contributor to the Resistance Report covering the Trump administration, and lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.