June 24, 2021
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona was in the hot seat Thursday, answering questions about his agency’s priorities during a virtual House education committee hearing.
Many of House lawmakers’ higher education-related questions revolved around reworking the federal student loan system.
However, several Republican legislators also brought up concerns dominating conservative circles, including foreign influence on college campuses and the teaching ideas of critical race theory.
Cardona opened the House Committee on Education and Labor’s roughly five-hour hearing with a pitch for President Joe Biden’s spending plans.
He highlighted an almost $103 billion proposal for the Education Department that would significantly boost the size of the maximum federal Pell Grant award, and pieces of the $1.8 trillion American Families Plan, which would make two years of community college free and heavily subsidize tuition at four-year minority-serving institutions.
Many lawmakers who spoke during the hearing asked about the federal student loan system, including if and when the Education Department would extend the pandemic-era pause on loan repayments, which is set to expire at the end of September.