Press Release/Statement | August 13, 2021

Sameer Gadkaree Named New President of the Institute for College Access & Success

The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS) announced today that Sameer Gadkaree has been selected as the organization’s new president and CEO. Gadkaree has served in senior roles in both higher education and philanthropy. He will assume his new role at TICAS on October 1, 2021.

“Student debt tops $1.5 trillion; the pandemic has exacerbated the strain, particularly for the most vulnerable and least financially secure,” said Zakiya Smith Ellis, TICAS Interim Board Chair and policy advisor to New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. “TICAS is a trusted leader in advocating for student-centered, evidence-driven, results-oriented public policies to enable all Americans to afford college and graduate without burdensome debt. I am confident that Sameer, with his passion for racial equity and economic mobility, will lead this seasoned team to advance federal and state policies that will deliver high-quality outcomes for students.”

Gadkaree has worked to strengthen higher education policy and opportunity throughout his career. He has worked in the trenches of higher education, leading the adult education division of the seven-campus City Colleges of Chicago during a time of significant reform and student-focused systemwide change, and with the Chicago-based Civic Consulting Alliance, a pro bono public sector consulting firm, partnering with the State of Illinois on higher education policy innovations. Most recently, Gadkaree has led the Joyce Foundation’s grantmaking on higher education and the future of work, with a focus on federal and state policy change.

“I am honored to be given the opportunity to lead TICAS during this time of both great challenge and possibility,” said Gadkaree. “TICAS is known across the political spectrum for its deep expertise, careful research, and effective policy advocacy. I am excited to join the TICAS team and to lead this remarkable organization as it advances affordability, accountability, and equity in higher education.”

For over 15 years, TICAS has worked at the federal level and in California. Two years ago, TICAS expanded its footprint to Michigan. TICAS has been an expert resource to policymakers, the media, and the public, combining rigorous research, sound technical assistance, and effective coalition-building to change policies that leave too many college students credential-less, mired in debt, and with limited economic mobility.

“The Joyce Foundation is a proud supporter of TICAS’ work in fighting for college affordability at the federal level, an issue for which there is no bigger advocate than Sameer Gadkaree. In his five years at the Foundation, Sameer has been committed to dismantling the structural barriers to success for students of color and economically disadvantaged students. This move is a well-deserved next step in Sameer’s leadership in the field. We look forward to working with Sameer in his new role and congratulate TICAS on an excellent choice of a new leader,” said Ellen Alberding, president of the Joyce Foundation.

“As TICAS builds on its successes under the leadership of James Kvaal, Sameer’s deep understanding of the complexities of policymaking and his commitment to student-focused solutions will be instrumental in moving the organization forward,” said Rosa Armendariz, a member of the TICAS Board and dean of student engagement and equity at Diablo Valley College. “The TICAS Board and staff are excited to welcome Sameer to lead our next chapter.”


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