According to news reports, President-elect Donald Trump today named Betsy DeVos to serve as Secretary of Education. You can find additional information about Ms. DeVos here. As a result of the limited discussion of higher education issues during the campaign, many observers have felt that Mr. Trump’s approach to higher education would be largely dependent on his selection of the person to lead the Department of Education.
However, Ms. DeVos’s background in education policy appears to be primarily that of a supporter for school choice – an issue of importance to K-12 schools and their advocates. Consequently, those interested in higher education matters will most likely be required to wait until the under secretary of education is appointed to replace Ted Mitchell. Mr. Mitchell has had primary responsibility for a variety of postsecondary education programs during the Obama administration. If the organizational structure of the Department remains the same in the Trump administration as in the Obama administration, it will be Mr. Mitchell’s successor who will be of primary interest to the leaders of colleges and universities.
The Steptoe & Johnson PLLC Higher Education Team will continue to monitor the impact of new federal policies and priorities on colleges and universities. Please contact any team member for additional information.