DeVos Appoints Loaning Know-It-All To Head Federal Student Loans

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Rob Shimshock Education Reporter
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Education Secretary Betsy DeVos appointed a student loan CEO Tuesday to head the Federal Student Aid division of the Department of Education.

DeVos appointed A. Wayne Johnson, a former Visa and Deloitte executive, as chief operating officer of Federal Student Aid’s $1.3 trillion student loan program, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The appointment follows the May resignation of James W. Runcie, who said he couldn’t operate the division in “good conscience” when it faced pressure regarding its lending practices. (RELATED: Education Department Executive Resigns After Dispute With Devos)

Johnson obtained a PhD from Mercer University in educational leadership when he was over the age of 60, and wrote a dissertation concerning the faulty logic students use to justify borrowing money for college. He started a company that communicated credit card transactions as they happened for card holders to see, and ran Reunion Financial Services, which starts and replenishes student loans, according to The Hill.

“There is more federal protection in place when you buy a car than there is when you sign up to take on student debt,” said Johnson to The Wall Street Journal. “It comes down to basic consumer protection.”

“Wayne is the right person to modernize FSA for the 21st Century,” said DeVos in a Department of Education press release Tuesday. “He actually wrote the book on student loan debt and will bring a unique combination of CEO-level operating skills and an in-depth understanding of the needs and issues associated with student loan borrowers and their families. He will be a tremendous asset to the Department as we move forward with a focus on how best to serve students and protect taxpayers.”

DeVos tasked Johnson with consolidating the application to obtain federal student aid, confirming that federal tax money is not wasted, and ensuring that student customers are treated with respect.

“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,” said Johnson in the press 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.”

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