Readout of the U.S. Department of Education’s COVID-19 Conference Call with Higher Education Stakeholders

Readout of the U.S. Department of Education’s COVID-19 Conference Call with Higher Education Stakeholders

March 31, 2020

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, along with several senior Department officials, held a conference call today with higher education leaders to provide an update on the Trump Administration’s whole-of-government response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) national emergency.

The Secretary began the call by welcoming the participants, including state higher education executive officers, college and university presidents, accreditors, and leaders of national higher education organizations, and thanking them for their continued work on behalf of students.

The Secretary then briefed the group on the Department’s quick action to provide regulatory flexibility so that colleges and universities could move classes online to limit disruptions to student learning and prevent the spread of COVID-19. She also discussed the increased, temporary flexibilities given to accreditors so that they could provide short-term approval for distance learning programs and courses, conduct virtual site visits, and extend accreditation terms or provide good cause extensions during this national emergency.

She then turned the call over to Chief Operating Officer Mark Brown of the office of Federal Student Aid who briefed participants on the immediate action the Department took to provide student loan relief to borrowers including setting student loan interest rates to 0%, suspending student loan payments, and stopping wage garnishments. He also discussed the six-month extension to those actions provided by the recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Assistant Secretary Scott Stump of the Office for Career, Technical, and Adult Education discussed new flexibilities announced for Perkins V plan submission deadlines for community and technical colleges as they apply for federal support for career and technical education programs. Additionally, he summarized a recent set of FAQS that provide clarification, flexibilities, and supports to state adult education offices as states seek to provide continuity of operations for adult learners during the COVID-19 outbreak.

This call is part of the Department’s ongoing communications with K-12 and higher education stakeholders regarding the Administration’s education-related coronavirus actions.

Participants from the U.S. Department of Education
Betsy DeVos, U.S. Secretary of Education
Mark Brown, chief operating officer, Federal Student Aid
Scott Stump, assistant secretary, Office for Career, Technical, and Adult Education

For more information on all the efforts the Department is taking to address the COVID-19 national emergency, visit ed.gov/coronavirus.

For more information about COVID-19, please visit the following websites: coronavirus.gov, cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html and usa.gov/coronavirus.