The Department of Education announced last week that A. Wayne Johnson, who was named Chief Operating Officer of the Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) in June 2017, will now lead a new unit called the Office of Strategy and Transformation.  James Manning, Acting Under Secretary, has assumed the duties of Acting Chief Operating Officer of FSA.

DeVos said, "We are focused on bringing FSA into the 21st century. Wayne has laid out a strong plan to make that happen, and the Strategy and Transformation Office will ensure that vision becomes a reality. Wayne remains the right man for the job."

Dr. Johnson will be tasked with advancing the Next Generation Processing and Servicing Environment and bringing the customer servicing capabilities of FSA into the 21st century. In December 2017, Johnson issued a Request for Advanced Market Research Information regarding his envisioned system. Note that responses were due January 2, 2018; No award will be made based on the information received in response to this request for advanced market research. 

insideARM previously reported that the anticipated FSA Next Generation Processing and Servicing Environment would provide for a single data processing platform to house all student loan information while at the same time allowing for customer account servicing to be performed either by a single contract servicer or by multiple contract servicers.

Many in the industry have praised Johnson as an innovator, and have said that he has made considerable progress in his short time with the Department. 

insideARM Perspective

It is unclear whether Johnson's move to a new role and Manning's assumption of the FSA COO role will affect ARM companies on the recently settled Unrestricted Private Debt Collection Agency (PCA) contract. This was an issue that took years to resolve. For better or worse, Johnson helped to bring it to a close so that accounts in default can once again be serviced. Readers can find a full history of that contract here.

insideARM will continue to follow developments under Manning, as well as potential continued litigation in the newly resolved Unrestricted PCA Contract award. 

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