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Media Press Releases Advocates React to Departure of Richard Cordray as Head of the Office of Federal Student Aid

Advocates React to Departure of Richard Cordray as Head of the Office of Federal Student Aid

Cordray Helped Deliver Debt Relief to Millions of People; Next FSA Chief Must Prioritize Consumer Protection and Hold Private Contractors Accountable

April 26, 2024 | WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Education announced on Friday, April 26, 2024 that Federal Student Aid (FSA) Chief Operating Officer (COO) Richard Cordray would not remain in his role for another three-year term. Cordray was designated COO by Secretary Cardona in March 2021 and has overseen the implementation of many of the Biden Administration’s highest-profile and impactful economic policies, including the first effort to deliver widespread student debt relief to 40 million people and the revitalization of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program and other targeted debt relief programs that have collectively delivered more than $150 billion in relief to more than 4 million student loan borrowers. 

Prior to leading FSA, Cordray was appointed the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by President Obama and served as Ohio Attorney General. 

In response to the announcement of FSA COO Richard Cordray’s departure, SBPC Executive Director Mike Pierce issued the following statement:

“Cordray inherited a broken student loan system, neglected by administrations of both parties for decades and run into the ground by the Trump Administration and private contractors. He oversaw the critical early effort to undo this damage, leading to the implementation of debt relief for more than 4 million borrowers thus far and the exit of notoriously bad actors like Navient and PHEAA from the student loan system. These are historic achievements and will help ensure the student loan system can keep the promises made to borrowers for years into the future.”

“Any new FSA Head must be able to hit the ground running to deliver on the President’s promise of debt relief to millions, stare down rogue contractors and predatory schools, and be trusted to always put borrowers’ rights over the private financial interests of the student loan industry.”

Student Borrower Protection Center Deputy Executive Director and Managing Counsel Persis Yu issued the following statement:

“Over the last three years, Richard Cordray has overseen many of the most monumental efforts to repair the harms inflicted by the severely broken student loan system. For far too long, administrative bureaucracy and bungled government policy implementation have failed to deliver critical protections and relief to borrowers. The federal student loan system stands at a critical juncture. The next COO must be committed to working swiftly and decisively to deliver on President Biden’s promise to provide much-needed debt relief to millions. Moreover, as the millions of servicing failures during the return to repayment and the beleaguered launch of the FAFSA have demonstrated, corrupt and incompetent private contractors are threatening the financial security of too many Americans. 

“Borrowers are counting on President Biden to quickly choose a Chief Operating Officer with a track record of holding big corporations accountable and with a commitment to protecting students’ and borrowers’ rights. The finances of tens of millions of student loan borrowers are at stake.”


About Student Borrower Protection Center

Student Borrower Protection Center (SBPC) is a nonprofit organization focused on eliminating the burden of student debt for millions of Americans. We engage in advocacy, policymaking, and litigation strategy to rein in industry abuses, protect borrowers’ rights, and advance racial and economic justice.

Learn more at or follow SBPC on Twitter @theSBPC.

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