WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, joined U.S Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and his fellow Democrats on HELP, Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), and Tim Kaine (D-Va.), in sending a letter to Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) to request a hearing on the nomination of Robert “Bob” L. King to become the Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education at the United States Department of Education.

“As student debt continues to rise, and as college becomes more and more unaffordable and inaccessible for hardworking Americans, it is critical that the Senate confirm someone for this important post with a specific and compelling vision for the role the Department should play in helping Americans struggling with student loan debt and making college more affordable, accessible, and accountable to students and taxpayers, and safe for all students,” the members wrote. “The American people deserve to know where Mr. King stands on these issues.”

The Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education has critical leadership and oversight responsibilities for the three major program units in the Department's Office of Postsecondary Education: Higher Education Programs; International and Foreign Language Education; and Policy, Planning and Innovation. These program units administer grant programs focused on college readiness, campus-based child care, graduate fellowships, and programs supporting low income, first-generation students, and individuals with disabilities, including federal TRIO and GEAR UP programs.

This office also oversees higher education accreditation at the Department and administers the review process for accreditation agencies to ensure that federally-recognized accreditors adequately perform their quality assurance and Title IV gatekeeping responsibilities in accordance with federal standards and regulations.

The Education Department has recently been the subject of widespread criticism for its decision to fully re-instate Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), the controversial gatekeeper of for-profit schools.

Last year, Murphy reintroduced the Students Before Profits Act, a bill to protect students from deceptive practices and bad actors in the for-profit college sector.