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Congresswoman Waters Condemns the Appointment of Dr. A. Wayne Johnson as Chief Operating Officer of Federal Student Aid

June 23, 2017
Press Release


Contact: Twaun Samuel or Rykia Dorsey

Phone: (202) 225-2201

Congresswoman Waters Condemns the Appointment of Dr. A. Wayne Johnson as Chief Operating Officer of Federal Student Aid

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, released the following statement in response to the announcement that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos intends to appoint Dr. A Wayne Johnson as Chief Operating Officer of Federal Student Aid:

“I am appalled that Secretary Betsy DeVos intends to appoint Dr. A. Wayne Johnson, the CEO of a private for-profit student loan company, to head the office of Federal Student Aid (FSA).  The FSA is the largest provider of student loans in the country, and is responsible for managing and protecting the financial interests of every aid seeking student in the nation.  It is despicable that the Secretary would select someone who represents the very people who financially benefit from the student debt crisis to head up the FSA.  I fear that this appointment will harm students and our higher education system.

“Dr. Johnson comes from the banking and credit industry. Like the Secretary herself, he has no prior experience working as a teacher, principal, or any other type of school administrator.  Dr. Johnson’s current role as CEO of a company that refinances and originates student loans is incompatible with his duties as Chief Operating Officer of Federal Student Aid, and calls into question whether he will put student interests before the profitability of the industry he comes form.  It is not surprising that, in announcing his potential appointment, the Department of Education did not specifically mention his ties to for-profit student loan companies.[1]

“Secretary DeVos continues to choose for-profit corporate interests over students, and clearly has no intention of guarding the integrity of our education system.  If she won’t fight for our students, I will.  I have made it my mission to fight against for-profit colleges that use predatory and manipulative practices to target low-income communities and saddle students with overwhelming debt.  This Congress, I’ve introduced H.R. 2300, the Students Before Profits Act of 2017, and H.R. 2301, the Court Legal Access & Student Support (CLASS) Act of 2017.  Together these bills would enhance penalties on for-profit colleges which misrepresent their costs, employment prospects, student loan default rates, completion rates and admission requirements, and stop schools that receive federal funds from using enrollment agreements to limit student’s access to courts.  I would ask every member of Congress, and every concerned American, to join me in this fight and voice their concerns.”