Government Affairs Associate

Remote - Washington, DC

The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization committed to building a more equitable and just society through higher education. Through research, advocacy, policy development, and field engagement, IHEP drives systemic change in higher education to advance equitable outcomes and generational impact for communities historically marginalized on the basis of race, ethnicity or income.


IHEP’s Communications and Government Affairs (Comms/GA) team connects our research with people across the country, including policymakers at the federal, state, and institutional levels, who have the power to shape higher education. We craft and disseminate compelling messages through strategic use of IHEP channels, including our website, social media, and multimedia; partner and coalition engagement; advocacy and policymaker engagement; and media outreach, including traditional press engagement and editorial content development.  

IHEP is seeking a Government Affairs Associate to support our policy and advocacy goals around increasing racial and socioeconomic equity and mobility via higher education. Reporting to the Vice President of Communications and Government Affairs, this position will be an integral member of a small and supportive Comms/GA team and will regularly collaborate with staff across the organization.

Due to the nature of this position, and specifically the need to connect in-person with policymakers and members of the higher education community, this position must be based in the D.C. metropolitan area. Outside of these in-person meetings, IHEP operates fully remotely on a day-to-day basis and we come together, in-person in D.C., for one week once a quarter to connect, build cohesion, and bond as a full staff. This position may require some travel outside the D.C. area.


The primary responsibilities in managing the day-to-day functions of IHEP’s government affairs portfolio include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Process, track, and inform bill endorsement requests, sign-on letter requests, and coordinated advocacy actions with partners in the field.
  • Draft advocacy-related communications products and collateral, including public statements, blog posts, letters and public comments, one-pagers, appropriations requests.
  • In consultation with the Leadership Team, Research Team (RT), and IHEP’s policy consultants, inform IHEP’s advocacy agenda and strategic goals.
  • Produce weekly advocacy updates to keep IHEP staff apprised of strategic external engagement in service of the organization’s advocacy goals.
  • Serve as point-person for, and build and maintain strategic relationships with:
    • Policymakers, including Congressional staff, federal agency staff, and state lawmakers to communicate IHEP’s positions and maximize IHEP’s policy influence.
    • Partnering organizations and others in the field to drive IHEP’s advocacy priorities.
  • Coordinate with members of IHEP’s RT to respond rapidly to policymaker requests, such as providing statistics, policy research, or recommendations on draft legislation.
  • Research and prepare memos that convey the impact of these policy proposals and help IHEP draft responses, organizational positions, and counter-proposals, as appropriate.
  • Monitor and analyze developments in postsecondary education legislative and regulatory activity, including the implementation of state and federal laws and institutional policies.
  • Help prepare senior leadership for high-profile speaking engagements, including but not limited to drafting oral and written testimony.
  • Collaborate with RT to develop research-informed federal, system, and state policy recommendations as part of larger research projects. 
  • Assist in aligning IHEP’s government affairs strategy with a larger communications and messaging strategy.
  • Engage in effective project management, including responsibility for content and logistic development, management of timeline and activities, communications with internal and external project participants, etc.
  • In collaboration with the Comms/GA team, establish metrics and regularly evaluate the results and impacts of our government affairs activity.
  • Provide logistical and administrative support to various large-scale, grant-funded projects involving multiple organizational/institutional partners.
  • Support IHEP’s Operations team to track and contribute to grant reporting.
  • Other duties as required.


We are looking for a combination of the following qualifications and experiences:

  • A bachelor’s degree and a minimum of two to three years of full-time work experience in role related to government relations, public policy, education policy, or another relevant field.
  • Knowledge of and experience with federal and state higher education policy issues, including college affordability, postsecondary data systems, college access and completion, and postsecondary outcomes preferred. Existing relationships with higher education policymakers and advocacy organizations a plus.
  • Strong commitment to social justice and promoting racial and socioeconomic equity through higher education policy.
  • Proven ability to communicate effectively with a non-partisan, student-focused, data-informed, and equity-centered voice.
  • Excellent verbal, interpersonal, and written communications skills.
  • Excellent organizational skills, follow-through, and attention to detail.
  • Strong analytical, critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills.
  • Ability to work independently and thrive in a small team environment where collaboration, teamwork, creativity and flexibility are valued.
  • Ability to represent IHEP with professionalism.
  • Ability to balance multiple competing priorities and operate on short timelines, when needed.
  • Values and contributes to a respectful work environment with an openness and inclusion to all viewpoints.


IHEP recognizes that a talented and diverse, inclusive, and equitable workforce benefits individuals, partners, and IHEP as a whole. We recognize that all employees bring their own capabilities, experiences, and characteristics to their work. IHEP believes in treating all individuals with respect and dignity and strives to achieve a supportive environment in which all employees reach their maximum potential. At IHEP, diversity encompasses differences including, but not limited to, those of race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, age, religion, socioeconomic status, political affiliation, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, family responsibilities, experience, and education. The wide array of perspectives that results from such diversity promotes innovation and business success, further supporting the organization’s mission.

IHEP values a healthy work-life balance and offers a comprehensive benefits package with generous paid time off; health, dental, vision benefits; 401K matching; life and disability insurance, flexible work arrangements, and other benefits. Salary is commensurate with experience. The starting salary range for the position is $65,000-$75,000.


Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and resume and apply through this website.

The Institute for Higher Education Policy is an Equal Opportunity Employer and encourages diversity in all facets of the organization’s work.