The House’s New Higher Ed Leader

Given the state of the U.S. economy and the promises of Republican lawmakers to cut the deficit, much if not most of the Congressional activity surrounding higher education in the 112th Congress is likely to unfold in the House and Senate committees that set federal spending and overall budget and tax policies. But to the extent that the education committee in the House of Representatives weighs in on issues affecting colleges and universities, a face unfamiliar to many in higher education will have a large say.

The chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, Minnesota’s John Kline, announced in December that he had asked Representative Virginia Foxx, a North Carolina Republican, to head the Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning, and Competitiveness, which deals with postsecondary issues of all sorts, including financial aid, work force development, and the like.

Foxx, a House member since 2005, spent much of her pre-Congress career in higher education, starting as a secretary at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, teaching and administrating at Caldwell Community College and Appalachian State University, and ultimately serving several years as president of North Carolina’s Maryland Community College. She also spent 10 years in the North Carolina Senate.

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