James Kvaal was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the Under Secretary on September 14, 2021. James Kvaal formerly was president of the Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS), a research and advocacy nonprofit dedicated to affordability and equity in higher education. TICAS is nationally recognized for its research and policy recommendations on student debt.
Kvaal served in the Obama Administration as the deputy domestic policy adviser at the White House and deputy undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Education. He led efforts to cut student loan monthly payments, hold career colleges accountable for excessive debts, and make community colleges tuition-free. He helped organize the White House Summit on College Opportunity, which featured more than 100 college presidents and other leaders committing to actions to help more students graduate from college. He also has served in senior roles in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.
Kvaal taught at the University of Michigan's Ford School of Public Policy, and graduated with honors from Stanford University and Harvard Law School.