California Community Colleges chancellor will take temporary role with Biden administration

California
Eloy Ortiz Oakley talks to reporters after he was named chancellor of the California Community Colleges on July 18, 2016, in Sacramento. (Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press)

Eloy Ortiz Oakley talks to reporters after he was named chancellor of the California Community Colleges on July 18, 2016, in Sacramento. (Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press)

California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley will join the Biden administration in a temporary role advising U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on higher education policy, the system announced Monday.

Deputy Chancellor Daisy Gonzales will serve in Oakley’s stead after he steps down July 26 until he returns in the late fall, according to Board of Governors President Pamela Haynes. Oakley said he will also take a leave from his duties as a University of California regent during that time.

In an interview, Oakley said he would help advance the Biden administration’s top higher education priorities. One close to his heart is increasing the federal Pell Grant, which is awarded to students with annual family incomes generally below $50,000 to help cover the total cost of college. But the grant covers only about 28% of the average costs at a public four-year university compared with about 77% in 1980, according to national data.

UC and the UC Student Assn. launched a “Double the Pell” campaign in February, lobbying to raise the award from $6,496 today to $13,000 by 2024. A coalition of 24 higher education associations, organizations and advocacy groups launched a national campaign last week to double the grant by the program’s 50th anniversary next June, Inside Higher Ed reported.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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