FSA Chief Richard Cordray to Step Down at the End of June

By Hugh T. Ferguson, NASFAA Managing Editor

Federal Student Aid (FSA) Chief Operating Officer Richard Cordray will formally step down from his role at the end of June, the Department of Education announced on Friday. The announcement came shortly before the expiration of Cordray’s three-year contract, and follows significant criticism of the department’s handling of the 2024-25 FAFSA rollout.

Though Cordray’s contract was slated to expire at the end of this month, he will remain in his position through the end of June in order to “oversee the completion of key priorities within the organization,” per remarks given by Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.

“We are grateful for Rich Cordray’s three years of service, in which he accomplished more transformational changes to the student aid system than any of his predecessors,” Cardona said, noting of Cordray’s involvement in overhauling the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, the development of the SAVE Plan, as well as resurrecting FSA’s enforcement unit. “As his consequential tenure comes to an end, we thank Rich for his tireless work and commitment to provide the service that our students, families, and institutions deserve.”

In an email to staff, Cordray wrote that he will continue to fulfill his current responsibilities for a transitional period as ED considers longer term operations.

Cordray joined the department in 2021 and was tasked with overseeing the nation’s student loan portfolio, as well as a new strategic operating plan at FSA, among other things. He previously served as the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and as the attorney general of Ohio.

While ED has undergone significant changes in the regulatory landscape for its student loan portfolio, and its re-launched enforcement unit, it has also been tasked with implementing the simplified FAFSA. However the form’s overhaul has been riddled with delays, errors, and glitches and is still in the process of being implemented for the 2024-25 school year.

In recent weeks, lawmakers have begun conducting more vigorous oversight of the department’s implementation of the form, with further hearings expected in the months to come.

Republicans have been particularly critical of Cordray’s role within the department. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), now chairwoman of the House Comittee on Education and the Workforce, expressed skepticism about a “failed Democrat politician,” taking over as the head of FSA at the time of Cordray’s appointment. 

In response to Friday’s announcement Foxx doubled down on her critiques of Cordray and called for new leadership to address the FAFSA fallout, writing that “Federal Student Aid needs a leader that students, families, and institutions can rely on to put politics aside and faithfully administer the law.”


Publication Date: 4/29/2024

David S | 4/29/2024 10:9:31 AM

“Step down.” Wink, wink.

As always, Foxx turning this into “Democrats are bad” sure is helpful 🙄

Korinne P | 4/29/2024 9:56:50 AM

I wondered who would have to fall on the sword for this debacle.

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