The Pew Charitable Trusts

Senior Associate, Research, Project on Student Borrower Success

Location US-DC-Washington
Posted Date 3 months ago(11/28/2017 1:50 PM)
Job ID
Program-Government Performance-Federal
The Pew Charitable Trusts


The Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today’s most challenging problems. Pew applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public and invigorate civic life.


We are an independent nonprofit organization – the sole beneficiary of seven individual trusts established between 1948 and 1979 by two sons and two daughters of Sun Oil Company founder Joseph N. Pew and his wife, Mary Anderson Pew.


Our work lays the foundation for effective policy solutions by informing and engaging citizens, linking diverse interests to pursue common cause and insisting on tangible results. Our projects encourage efficient, responsive governments – at the local, state, national and international levels – serving the public interests.


With offices in Philadelphia, Washington DC, Australia, Brussels and London, and with additional staff in other regions of the United States and around the globe, Pew provides an exciting learning environment and the opportunity to work with highly talented individuals. We are a dynamic, rapidly evolving organization that values creativity and innovative thinking and fosters strong teamwork with mutual respect.


Project Overview:
Pew’s new project on student borrower success will be an operating project of the Trusts which seeks to promote successful repayment of student loan debt, especially among those borrowers at greatest risk of delinquency and default. It will pursue evidence-based federal policy and regulatory reforms that increase the number of borrowers in income-based repayment plans and improve student loan servicing. Over a four-year period, our efforts will involve an array of activities and tactics, including research to build the evidence base for reform; coalition-building; grassroots networking; communications and media outreach strategies; convenings; policy maker and public education; and direct lobbying.


Position Overview:
The senior associate, based in the Washington, DC, office, will support the research and public outreach needs of the project. Responsibilities will include helping to shape the project’s research agenda, editing and publishing the project’s reports, and assisting in outreach and information sharing with policymakers and advocates. The senior associate will report to the campaign’s project manager, and the position has a set time frame that could be extended based on the success of the program, funding sources, and board decisions on continued support.


  • Provide core research capabilities to the project team, monitoring relevant student loan repayment issues. Review and provide regular summaries of new literature and media coverage related to student debt.
  • Lead the development of key research questions relevant to the campaign’s research and policy goals, identify appropriate datasets and methodological approaches, and carry out or oversee resulting research projects. 
  • Where necessary, identify potential research contractors. Evaluate proposals and contracts with external consultants, and work with other Pew staff to establish research contract agreements.
  • Work closely with contracted providers to ensure the rigor of their research. Review and critique all research materials produced for the project. 
  • Translate research materials for a lay audience, ensuring that accuracy is maintained while clarity and brevity are prioritized.
  • Help develop, research, and draft materials such as reports, briefs, fact sheets, social media, and web-based content that are highly relevant to policy deliberations and easily understood by the public, media and policymakers. 
  • Attend conferences, briefings, round tables, and other events related to student loan repayment and servicing to stay abreast of new research and policy developments, and provide summary bullets to the team about these events as appropriate.
  • Assist in planning, organizing, and coordinating convenings of advocacy groups, policy makers and other key audiences, including meetings hosted or sponsored by Pew and briefings on Capitol Hill.
  • Track trends and developments in state and federal policy regarding student loan repayment and servicing. Proactively identify and monitor the positions of influential researchers, stakeholders and thought leaders on key student loan issues.


  • Bachelor's degree required; advanced degree in public policy, political science or other relevant area preferred.
  • A minimum of four years of relevant experience in research and/or policy analysis. Experience in higher education research highly preferred. 
  • Familiarity with a variety of quantitative research methods to assess cost-effective policy design, including cost-benefit, impact, sensitivity/scenario, and baseline analyses.
  • Familiarity with a variety of datasets conducive to analyzing higher education trends, specifically measures of student loan repayment, default, and delinquency.
  • Good project management skills and a demonstrated ability to meet deadlines and to develop and move projects forward with a high degree of independence and autonomy.
  • A demonstrated ability to work as part of a team, foster consensus and collaborate with colleagues and external partners to achieve results; strong and diplomatic interpersonal skills; and the ability to develop and manage productive relationships with a range of constituencies who represent different perspectives.
  • Superb written and oral communication skills. Ability to articulate complex ideas, thoughts and concepts clearly and effectively and to draft written materials that accurately and coherently detail research findings. 
  • A keen understanding of the importance of rigorous, timely and policy-relevant research; experience disseminating it effectively to policy makers, the media and the public.
  • Flexibility and ability to routinely juggle multiple competing priorities and work in teams of both support and senior staff to meet project goals.
  • Sound judgment. Ability to make decisions, creatively solve problems, be responsive to colleagues and partners, and maintain confidentiality.

As necessary to conferences and meetings.


Compensation and Benefits:
As this is a full-time position, we offer a competitive salary and complete benefit program, including: comprehensive, affordable health care through medical, dental and vision coverage; financial security with life and disability insurance; opportunities to save using health savings and flexible spending accounts; retirement benefits to help prepare for the future; and work/life benefits to help you maintain a good balance.


The Pew Charitable Trusts is an equal opportunity employer, committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace. Pew considers qualified applicants for employment without regard to age, sex, ethnicity, religion, disability, marital status, sexual orientation or gender identity, military/veteran status, or any other basis prohibited by applicable law.



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