- On Tuesday, the Trump administration announced its nomination of Robert L. King to be the assistant secretary for postsecondary education within the Department of Education.
- King, president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, was previously chancellor of the State University of New York System and CEO of the Arizona Community Foundation.
- King's higher ed colleagues told Inside Higher Ed that his approach toward the industry centers around student completion and attainment, the availability of multiple consumer options for postsecondary education, workforce development and industry partnerships. They were largely positive in their assessment of King considering his most recent nomination.
King's appointment follows several moves by the Ed Department that have shaken up the higher ed industry, in particular the for-profit sector. These actions, which include plans to eliminate the gainful employment rule and roll back "borrower defense to repayment guidance," occurred under the oversight of Principle Deputy Under Secretary Diane Auer Jones. Inside Higher Ed reports that she will continue to assume the responsibilities of assistant secretary for postsecondary education until King takes over.
King's industry track record aligns with the Ed Department's views on supporting fiscal conservatism and prioritizing workforce development. The New York Times reported in 2005 that during his five-and-a-half-year tenure as SUNY chancellor, the institution saw an 11% increase in enrollment, a rise in the average student SAT score, and $1 billion in funds raised. However, in-state tuition at the system's four-year colleges rose 28% during the period.
The latter caused critics to suggest that King, who was previously budget director for then–Gov. George Pataki, opted to push the rising cost of higher education onto students rather than the state government, The Times reported. He stepped down as chancellor of SUNY in 2005, following 6 months of paid leave.