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Office of Governmental Affairs
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Posted: 03/31/2023
Director, Governmental Affairs (Higher Education Policy)
Title: Director, Governmental Affairs (Higher Education Policy)
Department: Office of Governmental Affairs
Supervisor: Vice President, Governmental Affairs
Status: Full-Time; Exempt
Level: Director
Location: Washington, DC
Application Deadline: Applications will be reviewed as received, with preference given to applications received by April 28, 2023


The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), a research, policy, and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of public universities, is seeking a highly skilled Director to play a key role in the Office of Governmental Affairs (OGA) on issues related to higher education policy. Working closely with the Vice President, Governmental Affairs, the Director will help develop and advance APLU’s higher education policy agenda, including issues within the Higher Education Act as well as related budget and appropriations priorities. The position will also focus on engagement with the U.S. Department of Education through relevant regulatory processes. Depending on background and qualifications, the position may also include legislative and agency work related to the Department of Veterans Affairs and/or the Department of the Treasury. Successful candidates will be energetic team players as well as self-starters, have exceptional written and verbal communication skills, possess strong organizational and interpersonal skills, be detail-oriented and be able to juggle multiple responsibilities simultaneously. A deep interest in the nuances of public policy and a commitment to the values and mission of public universities are a must. This full-time position is based in Washington, DC. The incumbent must reside in DC, MD, or VA, be up to date with their COVID vaccinations, and pass standard background checks. The incumbent is eligible for a hybrid work schedule. For more information, consult www.aplu.org.


APLU is a research, policy, and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of public universities in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.  With a membership of more than 251 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems, and affiliated organizations, APLU’s agenda is built on the three pillars of increasing degree completion and academic success, advancing scientific research, and expanding engagement.  Annually, member campuses enroll 5.4 million undergraduates and 1.4 million graduate students, award 1.5 million degrees, employ 1.3 million faculty and staff, and conduct $51 billion in university-based research.

APLU’s Office of Governmental Affairs (OGA) leads the association’s engagement with Congress and the Executive Branch to advance policy that furthers the ability of public universities to impact society through their education, research, and community engagement missions. As a membership association with institutions in all 50 states, APLU is uniquely positioned to effectively advocate for its policy priorities. APLU’s advocacy is conducted in close collaboration with member institutions through its Council on Governmental Affairs, which consists of university federal relations officers.


  • Help lead the development and implementation of a proactive federal relations strategy to advance APLU’s policy positions related to higher education, including issues related to student aid, college completion, student basic needs, distance education, Title II teacher preparation programs, and support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) within the Higher Education Act (HEA). Analyze and track legislation and federal regulations in related areas. (The incumbent may also assume responsibilities related to veteran education and tax and business policy.)
  • Engage with members of Congress, congressional committees, and representatives of relevant agencies within the assigned portfolio, including the Department of Education, on policy and funding issues of importance to public research universities.
  • Work closely with the APLU’s Council on Governmental Affairs (CGA) to support the advocacy of member institutions and enhance the association’s advocacy effectiveness.
  • Engage with partner organizations and advocacy coalitions by regularly participating in external meetings and identifying opportunities for leadership and collaboration.
  • In collaboration with the Vice President for Governmental Affairs, help coordinate and manage programming for the CGA, including monthly calls and quarterly in-person meetings, on issues within the position’s portfolio.
  • Draft policy papers and contribute regular news updates and analyses on matters within the issue portfolio for the CGA and other APLU constituency groups, including presidents and chancellors, provosts, vice presidents for student affairs, etc.
  • Work with APLU’s Office of Public Affairs on external communications relative to issue portfolio, including op-eds, website updates, social media content, etc.
  • Promote a diverse, inclusive, effective, and positive team environment within the office.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree required.
  • At least six years of cumulative experience on Capitol Hill, relevant federal agencies, or in positions focused primarily on government affairs related to higher education policy.
  • Possess expert knowledge and demonstrated content expertise in areas related to higher education policy as well as experience developing advocacy strategies to accomplish policy goals.
  • Experience, ability, and desire to interface with high-level university and policy leaders.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills; exceptional presentation skills.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, including the ability to provide strategic direction and leadership to multiple constituencies.
  • Exceptional organizational skills; detail-oriented; able to juggle multiple responsibilities simultaneously.
  • Strong commitment to advancing equity, access, and inclusion to public higher education, and supporting the ongoing mission of APLU.
  • Ability to travel domestically as needed.

To Apply

Please send a letter of interest and resume to APLU’s Human Resources Department at resume@aplu.org with the subject line: Director, Gov. Affairs (Higher Ed). Applications will be reviewed as received and continue until the position is filled, with preference given to those applications received by April 28, 2023.  Salary will be commensurate with experience. APLU provides a generous benefits package.

APLU is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer and is committed to recruiting, employing, training, compensating, and promoting staff regardless of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.