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Ted Mitchell, an under secretary of education during the Obama administration, is one of two finalists to be the next president of the American Council on Education, several observers said.

ACE is higher education's chief lobby group. Molly Corbett Broad, its president since 2008, is retiring in October.

Mitchell was under secretary from 2014 until President Trump assumed office. He also previously served as president of Occidental College. During his busy stint as under secretary, Mitchell played a primary role in overseeing the department's push for innovation in higher education. He worked on the administration's attempt to crack down on for-profit institutions as well as the aftermath of the collapses of Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institute, which the department in both cases helped make happen.

ACE's board is meeting this week, and observers said the board anticipated making a decision on its next president. The actual hiring and announcement could be weeks away, however.