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Senior Director, Higher Education Policy & Advocacy

at The College Board | Washington Office (Washington, DC) | View all jobs

The College Board is conducting a search for a Senior Director, Higher Education Policy and Advocacy in the Government Relations Department. This position is based out of our Washington, D.C office. 

About the College Board

We are a mission-focused organization that believes that investing in education is investing in the future. From our earliest days, we have devoted ourselves to educational opportunity and achievement. We have promoted innovation, equity, and excellence for generations of students. We are advocates for children and parents; we empower teachers and educators, and we are a strong presence in thousands of schools and communities across the country through programs and services - the SAT, Advanced Placement (AP®) and Pre-AP are just a few. Our work falls broadly into four categories: College Readiness, College Connection & Success, Student Opportunities, and Advocacy.

Named by Fast Company as one of the most innovative education companies, the College Board is a mission-focused organization. This job requires a strong focus on improving educational opportunities and outcomes, particularly for disadvantaged students, in the context of a competitive business environment.

About the Position

During the coming year, College Board is looking to leverage our higher education policy efforts to influence federal re-authorization of the Higher Education Act, and capitalize on innovative program initiatives and services from of our higher education members and national/state higher education partners to clear a path for all students to own their future, including those students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

As such, we are looking to hire a Senior Director of Higher Education Policy and Advocacy to lead our federal and state higher education policy analysis efforts, and participate in related advocacy efforts and events, when needed.

At the federal level, you’ll identify, create, and influence opportunities to improve student higher education access, affordability, and success and will regularly interact with Congressional members/staff, officials from the U.S. Department of Education, D.C.-based higher education and multi state associations, and representatives from College Board member institutions.

At the state level, you’ll provide higher education policy analysis to our state teams, particularly on issues related to providing students credit earned through Advanced Placement, College Level Examination Program (CLEP), and other accelerated coursework.

You’ll look for opportunities at the federal and state levels to advance College Board programs and services, including the SAT Suite of Assessments, Advanced Placement (AP), Student Search, CSS Profile, PowerFAIDS, ACCUPLACER, CLEP, College Board Opportunity Scholarships, and more.

As the higher education policy lead, you will work closely with the Executive Director of Federal Relations, State Government Relations Directors, Vice President of Global Government Relations, Vice President of Policy, Vice President for Higher Education Access and Strategy, Executive Director of Financial Aid Engagement and Services, Vice President of Research, and Chief of Global Policy and External Relations. Additionally, given the cross-organizational nature of this position, you will partner closely with the Governance, Higher Education, and Membership (GHEM) Team to align policy proposals and analyses to our higher education membership needs.

We’re looking for someone who has extensive experience working in the higher education policy arena. Ideally, you’ll have experience working for a national higher education association, U.S. Congress, U.S. Department of Education, or a state-based higher education organization. At a minimum, you’ll have extensive expertise on how public and private higher education institutions operate and serve students with an emphasis on financial aid, access initiatives, and advanced coursework.

Lastly, we are looking for someone who is a self-starter and who can also work well with others given the cross-team nature of this position. You should be comfortable communicating with and presenting to individuals at all levels, including to our Executive Leadership Team, to drive buy-in for the work in a manner that instills confidence in leadership at the College Board. 

What you’ll do

Policy development and analysis

  • Gather, translate, and share intelligence on major federal and state legislation and initiatives that have the potential to impact College Board members, programs, and services
  • Develop federal and state higher education policy proposals related to access, affordability, financial aid, advanced coursework, and student data privacy to advance the College Board’s mission, and collaborate with Executive Director of Federal Relations to advance proposals with key decision-makers in Washington, D.C., and in state capitals
  • Compose written policy briefs and distribute to internal and external audiences, as needed
  • Collaborate with major higher education associations and multistate organizations to advance College Board student-centered policy initiatives related to financial aid simplification, providing credit for advanced coursework, and more

External engagement

  • Leverage close connections and relationships with Congressional members and staff, officials from the U.S. Department of Education, and higher education association partners (ACE, APLU, AAU, NAICU, NAFSA, NCAN, et al) to inform policy proposals
  • Present/engage with College Board members to provide subject-matter expertise on current higher education proposals and initiatives, including at “Eye on Washington” sessions at College Board Forum, Higher Education Colloquium, and meetings of our National Councils
  • Provide subject-matter expertise on various member or service advisory groups, such as AP Higher Education Advisory Committee, Community College Advisory Council, ACCUPLACER Advisory Panel, AP Academic Councils, Financial Aid Standards and Services Advisory Committee, et al

Cross-organization collaboration and projects focused on access and affordability

  • Collaborate with staff on FAFSA completion and simplification strategies, including College Board Opportunity Scholarships and FAFSA scholarships, Higher Ed AP policy initiatives, and development of an affordability tool (in partnership with College and Career Access Division)
  • Contribute to College Board annual publications, including Trends in Student Aid, Trends in College Pricing, and Education Pays
  • Participate in AP and CLEP Credit Policy Working Group meetings along with Government Relations and AP Higher Education colleagues to ensure states are establishing uniform credit policies to award students for credit earned

Who you are

  • An experienced professional who enjoys higher education and working in a large, cross-functional organization
  • A self-starter – someone who knows what needs to get done and doesn’t wait to be told to do it
  • An experienced communicator who is comfortable presenting written materials or presentations to a variety of audiences, including College Board executive leadership
  • A great net-worker who has extensive relationships with national/state higher education associations
  • Known for your higher education policy expertise on Capitol Hill, and among higher education officials at the U.S. Department of Education, or national and state-based higher education organizations

More about you

  • Someone who is dedicated and passionate about our nonprofit mission
  • A person with a good sense of humor who isn’t afraid to try and fail (or succeed!)
  • Able to travel for meetings and presentations approximately 1-2 times per month
  • Able to provide relevant examples of your policy work
  • Have a minimum of 7 years’ experience in this or a related field


We offer an outstanding benefits package that includes up to four weeks of paid time off each year, comprehensive health insurance, a generous retirement savings plan, tuition reimbursement, ongoing professional development and training, and more. 


Our mission is to clear a path for all students to own their future.

EEOC statement

The College Board is committed to diversity in the workplace and is an Equal Opportunity Employer. The College Board participates in E-Verify, a service of DHS and SSA, where required. Please understand that only qualified applicants will be contacted.