Chief Operating Officer
U.S. Department of Education
Richard A. Cordray is the chief operating officer for the U.S. Department of Education Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA). FSA administers the federal student aid programs, which in fiscal year 2022 provided more than $111 billion in federal grants, loans, and work-study funds to nearly 10 million students attending approximately 5,500 postsecondary institutions. In total, FSA manages a federal student loan portfolio valued at more than $1.6 trillion representing more than 45 million customers. Cordray is responsible for FSA’s strategic and operational management.
Since his appointment in May 2021, Cordray has overseen significant changes to the federal student aid programs, including stronger standards for performance, transparency, and accountability for its student loan servicers aimed at protecting borrowers. Under Cordray’s leadership, FSA reestablished its Enforcement Office to increase focus on investigating problem schools that pose the most risk to students and taxpayers, requiring greater accountability by owners of schools when the institutions fail to follow program participation rules, and partnering with state officials to collaborate on potential investigations and enforcement actions.
Cordray brings to FSA extensive leadership and expertise, as well as a commitment to serving consumers and American families. His past public service includes several senior state and federal positions, including serving as the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) from 2012-17. Prior, Cordray served as the Ohio Attorney General, as the Ohio Treasurer, as Ohio’s first Solicitor General, and in the Ohio General Assembly. Cordray majored in legal and political theory at Michigan State University and earned a master’s degree in philosophy, politics, and economics while a Marshall Scholar at Oxford University in England. He then earned a law degree from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was editor-in-chief of the Law Review. He clerked for Judge Robert Bork on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and for Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court. He has since argued seven cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and was a professor of constitutional law for many years. Cordray is married and is the father of young adult twins.