Federal Aid Headaches in West Virginia

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Media Outlet: Inside Higher Ed

Clare McCann was quoted in Inside Higher Ed about the political pressure surrounding Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. 

Some observers doubt the department will keep the sanctions in place for the full period of five years, particularly as Betsy DeVos, the education secretary, receives political pressure to reverse or modify them. West Virginia’s federal congressional delegation appealed directly to the secretary to reverse course, while the state higher education system will appeal to the regional Federal Student Aid office.
DeVos has already granted some leeway to institutions after the department rejected several TRIO applications over formatting issues. After protests from elected officials, the department said in May that it would reconsider those applications.
The secretary has shown a willingness to disregard some of the technicalities of operating higher education programs, said Clare McCann, a senior policy analyst with New America's education policy program.
“My guess is Secretary DeVos will come under a pretty substantial amount of pressure and FSA will reverse course,” McCann said. “I’m not sure any administration responds to that level of political pressure very differently.”

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Clare McCann is the deputy director for federal higher education policy with New America's Education Policy program. She previously served as a senior adviser on higher education policy at the U.S. Department of Education.