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OPE: Office of Postsecondary Education
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The Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) formulates federal postsecondary education policy and administers programs that address critical national needs in support of our mission to increase access to quality postsecondary education. OPE is led by Brenda Dann-Messier, Acting Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education.

OPE includes several major organizational components:

Higher Education Programs (HEP)

HEP administers programs to increase access to postsecondary education for low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities. Included among these are the Federal TRIO Programs. HEP programs also strengthen the capacity of colleges and universities serving a high percentage of disadvantaged students by strengthening academic programs and institutional management, improving physical plants, and increasing endowments. The Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education provides grants to promote reform, innovation, and improvement in postsecondary education. HEP provides grants to states to increase access to and improve the quality of postsecondary education and works with state education agencies to promote communication and coordination.

Policy, Planning, and Innovation (PPI)

PPI develops postsecondary education policy and legislative proposals and is responsible for budget formulation and forecasting for programs administered by OPE. PPI leads OPE strategic planning and is responsible for a number of data collections and reports.

The Accreditation Group administers the Department's review process of accrediting agencies and state approval agencies for postsecondary vocational education and nurse education seeking to obtain initial and continued recognition by the Secretary of Education. The Accreditation Group carries out the Secretary's responsibility to publish a list of nationally recognized accrediting agencies and associations which the Secretary determines to be reliable authorities as to the quality of education and training offered by postsecondary institutions and programs.

This group provides a list of Postsecondary Educational Institutions and Programs Accredited by Accrediting Agencies and State Approval Agencies Recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education. Further information is available by calling (202) 219-7011.

The National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity provides recommendations to the Secretary of Education regarding the recognition of accrediting agencies as reliable authorities concerning the quality of education and training offered by postsecondary educational institutions and programs. The National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation makes determinations as to whether the standards used by foreign countries to accredit medical schools are comparable to the standards used to accredit programs leading to the M.D. degree in the United States. The Executive Director for both committees may be reached at (202) 219-7035.

International and Foreign Language Education (IFLE)

IFLE was established by the Higher Education Opportunity Act, 2008 (HEOA). This office advises the Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education on matters affecting postsecondary, international, and foreign language education. This office is responsible for encouraging and promoting the study of foreign languages and cultures of other countries at the elementary, secondary, and postsecondary levels in the United States. It also administers programs that increase expertise in foreign languages and area or international studies, and coordinates with related international and foreign language education programs of other federal agencies.

General information about OPE and its programs may be obtained by calling (202) 502-7750.

U.S. Department Of Education
Office of Postsecondary Education
1990 K Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20006
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Last Modified: 10/23/2013