Associate I, Student Loan Research

Location US-DC-Washington
Posted Date 1 month ago(9/11/2020 9:55 AM)
Job ID
Program-Research & Science
The Pew Charitable Trusts


The Pew Charitable Trusts uses data to make a difference. For more than 70 years, we have focused on serving the public, invigorating civic life, conducting nonpartisan research, advancing effective public policies and practices, and achieving tangible results. Through rigorous inquiry and knowledge sharing, we inform and engage public-spirited citizens and organizations, linking diverse interests to pursue common cause. We are a dedicated team of researchers, communicators, advocates, subject matter experts, and professionals working on some of today’s big challenges – and we know we are more effective and creative collectively than we are individually. With Philadelphia as our hometown and the majority of our staff located in Washington, DC, our U.S. and international staff find working at Pew personally and professionally rewarding.
Wise stewardship of resources allows Pew employees to pursue work that strategically furthers our mission in significant and measurable ways. We collaborate with a diverse range of philanthropic partners, public and private organizations, and concerned citizens who share our interest in fact-based solutions and goal-driven initiatives to improve society. Pew attracts top talent, people of integrity who are service-oriented and willing to take on challenging assignments. We provide competitive pay and benefits, a healthy work-life balance, and a respectful and inclusive workplace. Pew employees are proud of their colleagues, proud of where they work, and proud of the institution’s reputation.
The Research and Science Portfolio in Program
The research and science portfolio includes programmatic, functional, and outreach elements. It spans all of Pew’s programmatic work with a focus on advancing quality research and science and deploying research expertise to further the goals of ongoing projects. The portfolio reviews the design of new research projects across the institution to ensure they are high-quality, unbiased, and methodologically sound. The programmatic elements of the portfolio include specific projects related to biomedical science, environmental science, fiscal federalism, and Philadelphia public policy research. In addition, research and science has a role in communicating timely, accurate information on state issues to the general public as the Pew daily news publication, Stateline, is part of our organization. The portfolio also includes an operational aspect working to ensure effective management systems across the program department and coordinating with key partners across the institution.
Student Loan Research
The student loan research project is housed in the research and science portfolio and led by the director of the fiscal federalism initiatives. It provides research and analysis that informs the public and the policy process on the challenges of two issues: default on student loans and veterans’ higher education debt. The project uses a variety of methodologies including survey research, focus groups, and analysis of existing data sets. In addition, it has 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 successful associate will provide core research on default and veterans’ educational debt issues; conduct extensive data analysis; contribute to and co-author briefs and other research products; critically review project materials; work with outside contractors; help implement the project’s communications and outreach strategy; present research findings in appropriate venues; work collaboratively with colleagues across Pew on current projects and explorations of new research opportunities and play a lead role in managing stakeholder relationships, meetings, events, and outreach. 
The position, based in Pew’s Washington, D.C., office, reports to the initiative’s 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 project, with a focus on analyzing current and emerging policies related to higher education – specifically student loans and veterans, and student loan data generated by both the project’s research and external sources such as the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Contribute to and co-author research reports and issue briefs for the project. Critically review and fact-check materials produced by other staff and contractors.
  • Develop and maintain timelines and schedules to ensure the timely release of publications.
  • Play a key role in planning and 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 collaboratively with other team members to execute the project's communications and outreach strategy. Such duties include reviewing outreach emails and social media and preparing materials for the project's web site to ensure that they are timely, accurate, and relevant.
  • Review and provide regular summaries of relevant new legislative proposals before the Congress and state legislatures related to higher education – specifically student loans and veterans.
  • Participate with Pew colleagues who have relevant expertise on collaborative work and work with management on development of new research proposals.
  • Attend and represent the project at conferences, convenings, and other events.
  • Other duties as assigned.


  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience required.
  • At least one year of applicable experience focused public policy.
  • Basic familiarity with veterans’ issues and higher education policy and some experience in federal/state government a plus.
  • Experience summarizing and distilling the essence of policy proposals and legislation.
  • Strong analytical skills. Proficiency with Microsoft Excel and familiarity with at least one statistical software package required (e.g., Stata, R, SPSS).
  • Experience with event and project management preferred.
  • 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.
  • 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.
This position requires occasional travel to meetings and conferences.
Total Rewards 
We offer a competitive salary and 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 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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