DeVos appoints private student loan CEO to head federal student loan system

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 6, 2017, before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on the fiscal year 2018 budget. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON (WFLA) – U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has tapped Wayne A. Johnson, the CEO of a private student loan company, to head the Office of Federal Student Aid, the Department of Education announced Tuesday.

Johnson is the CEO of Reunion Student Loan Services, which originates and refinances student loans. He will now be overseeing the agency that manages an estimated $1.4 trillion in outstanding student debt from approximately 42 million borrowers.

“Wayne is the right person to modernize FSA for the 21st Century,” DeVos said in the statement. “He actually wrote the book on student loan debt and will bring a unique combination of CEO-level operating skills and an in-depth understanding of the needs and issues associated with student loan borrowers and their families.”

The announcement comes nearly a month after former student aid COO James Runcie abruptly resigned following a dispute with DeVos. Before his resignation, Runcie refused DeVos’ request he testify before the House Oversight Committee over the department’s rising improper payment rate for federal student aid programs.

Johnson is expected to step down from private sector roles before he joins the FSA, according to reports. His appointment does not require Senate confirmation.

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