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US Department of Education Principal Office Functional Statements
Office of Postsecondary Education

Functional Statements > Office of Postsecondary Education

Sections

  1. Mission and Responsibilities
  2. Organization
  3. Order of Succession
  4. Functions and Responsibilities of OPE Components
    1. Immediate Office of the Assistant Secretary
    2. Higher Education Programs
    3. Policy, Planning, and Innovation
    4. International & Foreign Language Education
  5. Primary Delegations of Authority

I. Mission and Responsibilities

The Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education serves as the principal adviser to the Secretary on Departmental matters related to postsecondary education. The office directs, coordinates, and recommends policies for programs that are designed to:

  • Provide financial assistance to eligible students enrolled in postsecondary educational institutions.
  • Improve postsecondary educational facilities and programs through the provision of financial support to eligible institutions.
  • Recruit and prepare disadvantaged students for the successful completion of postsecondary educational programs.
  • Promote the domestic study of foreign languages and international affairs and support international educational research and exchange activities.

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II. Organization

The Office of Postsecondary Education is under the supervision of the Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education who reports to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary. The Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education provides overall direction, coordination, and leadership to the following major elements:

  • Higher Education Programs;
  • Policy, Planning, and Innovation; and
  • International & Foreign Language Education.

In addition, the Executive Office reports to the Assistant Secretary.

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III. Order of Succession

In the event that the Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education dies, resigns or is otherwise unable to perform the functions and duties of the office and the office is thereby deemed to be vacant, as defined by the Vacancies Act, and the President has not designated in writing another individual to act as the Assistant Secretary, the Deputy Assistant Secretary, Policy, Planning and Innovation, as the designated “first assistant” under the Vacancies Act, shall perform the functions and duties of the office in an acting capacity. If both the offices of the Assistant Secretary and the Deputy Assistant Secretary, Policy, Planning and Innovation are vacant, or the time period during which the Deputy Assistant Secretary, Policy, Planning and Innovation may serve in acting capacity has expired, the individuals listed below the Deputy Assistant Secretary, Policy, Planning and Innovation, in the order shown, are authorized to perform the functions and duties of the office of the Assistant Secretary, except for any functions and duties that are required by law to be performed only by the Assistant Secretary or by someone officially acting in such capacity.

In instances where the office of the Assistant Secretary is filled, but the Assistant Secretary is absent, unavailable, otherwise unable to perform the functions and duties of the position, and/or there is a disruption in the normal channels of direction and communication, and there is no person officially serving in an acting capacity, and unless the Assistant Secretary or the Secretary, in writing, designates another individual to perform the functions and duties of the Assistant Secretary, the following officials, in the order shown, are delegated the authority to perform the functions and duties of the office of the Assistant Secretary, except for any functions and duties that are required by law to be performed only by the Assistant Secretary or by someone officially acting in such capacity:

Deputy Assistant Secretary, Policy, Planning and Innovation;
Senior Director, Policy, Coordination, Development, and Accreditation Service;
Deputy  Assistant Secretary, Higher Education Programs.

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Last Modified: 04/28/2014