Robert Shireman is a senior fellow at The Century Foundation working on higher education policy with a focus on affordability, quality assurance, and consumer protections.
He advises the U.S. Department of Education on accreditation issues through his appointment (by Speaker Pelosi) to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI), and serves as a California Governor appointee to the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education (WICHE). Shireman served in the Obama administration as deputy undersecretary of education, having previously worked in the U.S. Senate and at the National Economic Council in the Clinton Administration. In 2004 he founded The Institute for College Access & Success, and in 2011 launched the policy organization California Competes.
In his various roles since 1989 Shireman has led successful efforts to reform student loans, streamline the financial aid process, promote campus diversity, and protect consumers from predatory colleges. He has shepherded the evolution of the nation’s income-based student loan repayment system from its initial adoption in 1992 to its expansion and improvement by President Barack Obama. He organized the federal response to emerging signs of predatory for-profit career training in 2009, leading to a widely discussed set of regulatory reforms and enforcement actions. He led an effort that significantly simplified the process of applying for federal college aid, and pressed for and ultimately won the elimination of costly middlemen from the federal loan programs so that more grant aid could be made available to low-income students.
Shireman holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley, a Master’s in Education from Harvard, and a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of San Francisco.