Washington, DC - The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) congratulates Dr. Michelle Asha Cooper, IHEP's president since 2008, for her appointment to serve in the Biden-Harris Administration, as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Higher Education Programs (serving as Acting Assistant Secretary) in the Office of Postsecondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education. Upon the announcement of this appointment, Mamie Voight, IHEP's interim president stated:
“The entire IHEP team and board of directors join me in congratulating Dr. Cooper on her appointment. She is one of the nation's most trusted voices in championing success for students in higher education regardless of race, socioeconomic background, or gender. Her passion for equity and social justice has shaped our work, inspired our team, and built IHEP into the robust organization we are today. We are thrilled to see Dr. Cooper bring her equity-centered and student-ready mindset to her new role in the Biden-Harris administration and are eager to witness the transformative change she will bring to our nation's postsecondary policies.”
“For over 12 years, Dr. Cooper oversaw the expansive evidence-driven research portfolio and student-focused advocacy agenda at IHEP. Throughout her tenure, her leadership shaped national, state, local, and institutional policies across the country. In her new post, Dr. Cooper's focus on innovative and scalable solutions will continue to yield real change for today's students.”
A fierce advocate for racial and economic equity, experienced practitioner, and demonstrated leader, Dr. Cooper is one of the nation’s most trusted voices in championing access and success for all students in higher education. She fundamentally believes that educational attainment can improve an individual’s life and, in doing so, strengthen families, communities, and the workforce. In her personal life and through work with institutional and policy leaders, Dr. Cooper has witnessed first-hand the transformative power of education. She sees education as a proven vehicle for social impact, an essential component of racial equity, and a core feature of a civil society.
Before IHEP, Dr. Cooper held leadership positions at the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance at the U.S. Department of Education, Association of American Colleges and Universities, the Council for Independent Colleges, and King's College. A native of Charleston, South Carolina, Dr. Cooper earned her B.A. from the College of Charleston, an M.P.S. from Cornell University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, College Park.