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  • Washington Highlights

    Secretary DeVos Testifies Before House Education and Labor Committee

    Matthew Shick, Sr. Director, Gov't Relations & Regulatory Affairs
    Brett Roude, Legislative Analyst

    Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos April 10 testified at a House Education and Labor Committee hearing titled, “Examining the Policies and Priorities of the U.S. Department of Education.” The hearing considered the Department’s fiscal year (FY) 2020 budget request, as well as other initiatives led by the Department.

    In her opening statement, Secretary DeVos discussed the administration’s proposals to create a single income driven repayment (IDR) plan capped at 12.5%and to eliminate the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program [see Washington Highlights, March 15]. The secretary noted that the current loan program “provides an after-the-fact benefit that doesn’t help students complete their program and does not take into account borrower earnings in their chosen profession.” She continued to discuss how the administration’s proposed plan would “support all borrowers pursuing any career through the single IDR plan, which will allow borrowers to make affordable monthly payments based on their income.”

    During questioning, Committee Chair Bobby Scott (D-Va.) noted the lack of African American men entering medicine. He highlighted how “there are fewer African American men in medical school now than in 1978. There is a disparity, a significant lack of African American men in medical school,” and asked the secretary, “What is the administration doing to increase the number of African American men in medical school today?” In her response, Secretary DeVos noted that the Department is following the Supreme Court’s guidelines around the use of different measures in admissions and the department has a “desirable goal to have a very diverse population in every educational setting.”

    The AAMC published a report titled Altering the Course: Black Males in Medicine that examines the decline of African American males entering medicine.