The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS) is a national nonprofit with offices in Oakland, California and Washington, D.C. We are a trusted source of research, design, and advocacy for student-centered public policies that promote affordability, accountability, and racial equity in higher education. Our staff combines expertise in research and data, laws and regulations, change management, and the policymaking process.   For more information, please visit the website: www.ticas.org

Senior Policy Associate Summary

The Senior Policy Associate contributes vital work that advocates/supports policies that improve access to programs to support students’ basic needs at the federal and state levels, with a special emphasis on first-generation, low-income students, and students of color.  This role will support the team’s federal advocacy agenda as well as specific states in which we provide technical assistance. Key aspects of the role include helping inform legislative and regulatory policy processes through research and analysis, developing and advocating for research-based policy proposals, and building and maintaining coalitions of like-minded partners.

The position reports to the Senior Director of Policy and Advocacy. This position is remote but being located in the Washington, D.C. area is required due to the necessity of in-person activities and meetings

Essential Job Functions  

Advocacy and Partnership Strategy

  • Support the development and strengthening of relations with TICAS partners and with the support and guidance of the supervising Senior Director.
  • Effectively communicate with organizations with different priorities from our own to identify areas of opportunity and alignment.
  • Identify strategies for advancing TICAS’ policy priorities through legislative, regulatory, and other means in partnership with TICAS team members.
  • Uphold strong relationships with lawmakers and key stakeholders even with different perspectives and interests by providing trusted, reliable and independent information and research.
  • Schedule, organize, and develop plans for meetings with policymakers and staff, including gathering pertinent materials and providing appropriate follow-up materials and clarifications for subjects discussed in the meeting
  • Support Senior Director of Policy and Advocacy in meetings with policymakers, staff, and high-level stakeholders on areas of research and analysis.
  • Make presentations, provide testimony, participate in meetings, and attend conferences on selected issues, as needed.
  • Key thought partner for Senior Director of Policy and Advocacy on priority focus, targets, and strategy in alignment with the overall organizational mission.

Policy Research Analysis and Writing

  • Support the development of federal and state level research agenda in alignment with leaderships priorities.
  • Analyze, summarize, and make recommendations on draft policy proposals, including on legislative, regulatory and administrative issues.
  • Monitor and analyze regulatory, budgetary, and legislative developments in the student basic needs space.
  • Contribute research, analysis, and writing to reports, issue briefs, blog posts, fact sheets, and letters.
  • Provide support for data and research needs as necessary to support the student basic needs priorities.
  • Work with other TICAS federal and/or state-level policy research analysts to develop and provide written research materials on state and regional comparison of pertinent data analysis that elevate state level priorities.
  • Other duties as assigned.
  • Education and Qualifications Required
  • Bachelor’s degree in higher education policy, research, or advocacy or related field.
  • Minimum of two years’ post-bachelor’s degree relevant experience in the higher education, research or advocacy field, ideally in a non-profit setting.
  • Intermediate/expert proficiency in MS Word and Excel.
  • Demonstrated commitment to and focus on inclusion and equity, with ability to build and nurture relationships with diverse colleagues and stakeholders, in a work environment that is welcoming, respectful, and encouraging to all.
  • Intermediate knowledge of higher education policy topics at the federal level.
  • Strong working knowledge of government funding sources, organizations, allies, and coalitions in the higher education sector.
  • Intermediate experience with public speaking and presentations.
  • Excellent writing and proofreading skills.
  • Demonstrated research and analysis skills, and ability to interpret, convey and work with quantitative analyses.
  • Organizational and time management skills to complete competing assignments within established timeframes.

Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

TICAS is committed to sustaining a diverse community with a work environment that is welcoming, respectful, and encouraging to all. TICAS fosters a culture of inclusion that celebrates and cultivates diversity along multiple dimensions, including race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, national origin, socioeconomic status, religion, culture, and experience.

TICAS strongly encourages applicants from diverse and historically underrepresented backgrounds to apply.   Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Compensation: Salary range is $75,000 – $85,000 per year


  • Comprehensive health plan, plus dental and vision coverage (100% paid for employee coverage, plus an additional 50-75% TICAS contribution for all other dependents depending on plan)
  • Remote and hybrid work flexibility
  • 44-50 days of annual paid time off based on tenure, including holidays, vacation, and sick leave
  • 40 days of paid parental leave for new parents
  • Retirement plans with employer contributions
  • Professional Development opportunities, including memberships
  • Summer Fridays
  • Employee assistance plan

Application process:

Candidates should submit a brief cover letter and resume to:  careers@ticas.org  Incomplete applications without a cover letter will not be considered. In your cover letter, please include:

  • Why you are passionate about TICAS’ mission
  • How you believe you are the right fit for this position

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled, but priority will be given to applications received by May 31st

Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Statement

TICAS provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local laws.