California Community Colleges chancellor to take temporary job with Biden administration

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.

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