Sally L. Stroup was sworn in as assistant secretary for postsecondary education on March 20, 2002. As assistant secretary, she serves as the principal adviser to U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings on all matters related to postsecondary education. In this capacity, Stroup coordinates Department programs relating to financial assistance for eligible students enrolled in higher education institutions and recommends policies to recruit and prepare disadvantaged students to enroll and complete postsecondary education programs.
The Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) administers programs to promote academic success of disadvantaged students and to strengthen the capacity of colleges and universities that serve a high percentage of disadvantaged students. OPE also directs international education programs, as well as the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, which provides grants to colleges and universities to promote reform, innovation, and improvement in postsecondary education.
Because of her background in the student aid industry and in Congress, former Secretary Rod Paige noted that Stroup's "wealth of experience on issues and policy relating to postsecondary education," make her uniquely qualified for this leadership position.
Before joining the Department, Stroup served as the director of industry and government affairs for the Apollo Group Inc./University of Phoenix. From 1993 to 2001, she was a professional staff member for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce. As a committee staff member, she played a key legislative role in the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act Amendments of 1998. From 1981 to 1993, Stroup was with the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, one of the largest, full-service financial aid organizations in the nation. First serving as a staff attorney, Stroup rose to senior staff attorney and then to senior vice president of legal services and chief counsel.
Born in Harrisburg, Pa., Stroup grew up in nearby Gratz. She is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Loyola University School of Law in New Orleans.