The Pew Charitable Trusts

Senior Associate, Student Loan Research

1 month ago(12/17/2017 11:41 AM)
Job ID
Program-Research & Science
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:

The student loan research project is a new project slated for launch in January 2018. This project will be housed in the Research and Science unit and led by the director of Pew’s fiscal federalism initiatives. It will provide research and analysis that will inform the public and the policy process on the challenges of two issues: default on student loans and veterans’ higher education debt. The project will use a variety of methodologies including survey research, focus groups, and analysis of existing data sets. In addition, it will have a robust outreach strategy that includes hosting convenings of major stakeholders, media outreach, and partnerships in the larger higher education, student loans, and veterans research communities.


Position Overview:

The senior associate will conduct independent research and provide research support for the project’s core areas of focus; author and co-author research papers and issue briefs; critically review project materials; work with outside contractors; help implement the initiative’s communications and outreach strategy; present research findings at conferences and in appropriate venues; and work collaboratively with colleagues across Pew on current projects and explorations of new research opportunities.

The senior associate will be based in Pew’s Washington, DC, office and will report to the senior manager. 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 capability for the initiative. Carry out analysis of data related to higher education, specifically student loans and veterans issues, from both publicly available sources and the team’s data collection efforts. 
  • Co-author research reports, issue briefs, and other materials for the initiative. Critically review and fact-check materials produced by contractors and other staff.
  • Help create and oversee timelines and schedules to ensure the timely research and release of publications. 
  • Provide guidance in organizing team-sponsored convenings of stakeholders, experts, and the public—including securing speakers and experts, agenda development, logistics, invitations, and preparing materials for briefings and events.
  • Help manage the initiative’s contracts. Identify potential contractors, evaluate proposals, monitor progress, and ensure products are delivered on time, within budget, and meet the contract's objectives.
  • Work with the director and senior manager to support and execute the initiative’s communications and outreach strategy. Prepare materials for the initiative’s web site and ensure that they are timely, accurate, and relevant.
  • Attend and represent the project at conferences, convenings, and other events.
  • Collaborate with management on development of new research proposals.
  • Other duties as assigned.


  • Bachelor's degree required. An advanced degree in public policy, public administration, or economics preferred.
  • Minimum of four years of professional work experience focused on public policy; familiarity with federal higher education policy and programs and key higher education data sets (e.g. NPSAS) strongly preferred. An understanding of student loans and/or veterans’ higher education issues a plus.
  • Experience summarizing and distilling the essence of policy proposals and legislation.
  • Strong analytical and quantitative skills. Proficiency with Microsoft Excel required; expertise in at least one statistical software program (e.g., Stata, R, SPSS) strongly preferred.
  • Experience designing, conducting, managing, and analyzing qualitative research projects (e.g. focus groups, in-depth interviews) helpful.
  • Excellent written and oral communications skills, including an ability to synthesize issues effectively and clearly. Ability to write quickly and succinctly.
  • Strong interpersonal skills. Able to develop and manage productive and collaborative relationships both internally and externally.
  • Ability to work under minimal supervision.
  • Proven ability to think strategically and creatively, juggle multiple priorities, adjust to changing circumstances, organize time efficiently, and remain attentive to details.
  • Ability to fit into a creative, fast-paced, and highly professional culture that emphasizes excellence, collegiality and teamwork. 
  • Commitment to non-partisan research.


It is anticipated that the senior associate will undertake a nominal amount of travel, including to conferences and occasional trips, to promote the initiative’s work.

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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