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May 18, 2010 1:01 PM A Bureaucrat Who Mattered

By Daniel Luzer

Shireman2.jpg

Robert Shireman, the deputy undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Education who sent the stocks of for-profit education companies down last month after he called them out individually for unsavory practices, has resigned.

According to an article by Doug Lederman in Inside Higher Ed:

Shireman’s departure was widely expected, given that he and his family had been happily ensconced in the Bay Area for more than a decade and that the primary goal that drew him back to Washington — the prospect of securing the future of the government’s Direct Student Loan Program and ending all lending through the competing Federal Family Education Loan Program — was accomplished when Congress passed budget legislation in March.

The effective dismantling of the lender-based guaranteed loan program… was by far the signature achievement. But he also made major progress in expanding a nascent federal program… that allows borrowers to repay student loans based on their post-graduation incomes. Financial aid experts also hailed the progress that the department… made in simplifying the financial aid application process.

So Shireman is leaving, essentially, because he accomplished what he wanted. At the same time Shireman also apparently pissed a lot of people off like, say, the for profit college industry. This is not an ambiguous sort of relationship, either. “We know for sure that investors in these schools are celebrating Shireman’s departure,” said the National Review’s Stephen Spruiell. Apparently when the department announced Shireman’s resignation yesterday afternoon stock prices for-profit companies shot up between 1 and 13 percent.

Shireman will leave his position at the beginning of July.[Image via the House Committee on Education and Labor]

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer