In a strange twist, a top Education Department official who oversaw federal student loans suddenly resigned on Thursday and proposed a sweeping plan to tackle student debt.
The Wall Street Journal reported that A. Wayne Johnson, appointed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to serve as the the chief strategy and transformation officer of the department’s Office of Federal Student Aid, has stepped down and will run for Sen. Johnny Isakson’s (R-GA) seat.
Slamming the student loan system as “fundamentally broken,” Johnson proposed cancelling up to $50,000 in federal student loans for any borrower.
Johnson’s plan is particularly surprising given his former workplace’s repeated efforts to gut student forgiveness programs under DeVos’ leadership. He also served as CEO for several private student loan companies before he began working for the Trump administration.
The former official told the Wall Street Journal that his proposal aims to eliminate the government’s role in providing student loans and provide borrowers with a $50,000 voucher for tuition instead.
Meanwhile, a judge has threatened to hold DeVos in jail for refusing court orders to stop collecting loan payments from students of the for-profit Corinthian Colleges.