Location: Flexible within California; Sacramento, California or Oakland, California preferred.
Reports To: Director of CA College Affordability
FLSA Status: Full-time/Exempt


The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS) is a national nonprofit based in Oakland, CA, and Washington, DC. 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.

We nurture close relationships with policymakers, providing specific recommendations and help them navigate legal, budgetary, and political hurdles. We build momentum for new policies by building diverse coalitions of advocates and constituents and by driving media coverage. We pride ourselves on the impact of our work and are known for our reliable research, carefully designed policy recommendations, and partnerships with policymakers and advocates. For more information, please visit the website: www.ticas.org

Job purpose

The person in this position will work with the Director of the California team to lead the policy and advocacy portfolio focused on increasing quality, transparency, and racial and economic equity in higher education. The portfolio includes a focus on strengthening state protections for students attending private and public postsecondary institutions, the intersection of affordability policies and out-of-state postsecondary institutions, California’s Cradle-to-Career data system and state higher education oversight and coordination.

The Senior Program Associate/Associate Director will manage an existing coalition of advocates, monitor and coordinate responses to relevant legislative and administrative proposals, strategically plan next steps for TICAS and the coalition, and represent TICAS in meetings with state executive and legislative branch policymakers and other stakeholders to advance those goals in the state.

As a member of TICAS’ California team, the Senior Program Associate/Associate Director will help deepen the organization’s strategic partnerships and alliances and build connections across the California team’s portfolio where appropriate.

Note: This is currently a remote position; some travel to team activities in the TICAS Oakland office will be required.

Key duties and responsibilities

  • With strategic guidance from the Director, manage the California college accountability coalition, including regular coalition calls, collaborative work products, and an annual convening.
  • Update and execute our strategic plan for this space which includes policy priorities and strategies for achieving them.  
  • Monitor and track relevant legislation, budget items and other decision-making entities, and coordinate TICAS and coalition responses.
  • Help set policy priorities and strategies for achieving them. Identify how state policymakers can protect students from fraud and abuse and improve the quality of their college options.
  • Author blogs, fact sheets, and briefs to support advocacy efforts.
  • Meet with policymakers, including legislative and executive staff, to explain and support TICAS policy recommendations.
  • Represent TICAS in press interviews, speaking engagements, testimony, and meetings.
  • Clearly communicate TICAS research and policy recommendations to policymakers, journalists, researchers, and advocates.
  • Foster an inclusive working environment that respects colleagues’ diverse perspectives, experiences, and expertise.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Skills and Qualifications

  • A baseline understanding of issues around private postsecondary institutions, the intersection of affordability policies for out-of-state postsecondary institutions, and California’s Cradle-to-Career data system. 
  • Preference for a candidate with at least two years of state level advocacy on higher education issues. 
  • Strong written and verbal communication and organizational skills. 
  • Strong relationship building skills within coalitions. 
  • Excellent at working in a team and independently. 
  • Can balance both short- and longer-term priorities. 
  • Exceptional attention to detail and commitment to continuous improvement. 
  • Commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

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: $75,000-95,000, depending on experience. 

Application process: Candidates should submit a brief cover letter (no more than one page) and resume to: careers@ticas.org. 

In your cover letter (no more than one page), please include:

  • Why you are passionate about TICAS’ mission
  • How your background and experience make you the right fit for this position

Please include two professional references.