The education department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Cordray did not immediately comment on the decision.
Cordray is an ally of Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Who has led the progressive charge of overhauling the way the education department manages its day-to-day student loan operations, oversees student loan service companies and regulates colleges that receive federal student aid.
The student aid bureau is responsible for managing the nation’s $ 1.6 trillion portfolio of student debt owed by 45 million Americans.
Cordray’s appointment also significantly elevates the role of a post in the education department that was once relatively obscure. But it has become a major focus for progressives in recent months. They see it as essential to achieve the student debt relief they are calling for, as well as to tighten regulation of the for-profit education and student loan sectors.
The Biden administration has been considering candidates for the job since Mark Brown, a member of the Trump administration, resigned earlier this year under pressure from progressives and union leaders. Brown, who was appointed by then Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, still had a year to complete her term.