Robert Shireman

Higher education policy expert in the Obama & Bill Clinton Administrations; senior fellow at at The Century Foundation. Views are my own.

An expert on higher education policy, Robert Shireman has served in two presidential administrations (Obama and Bill Clinton) and launched two nonprofit organizations. He now serves as a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, and in his own time serves as a volunteer on nonprofit boards (uAspire, the Opportunity Institute, and a city commission) and with political campaigns. At deputy undersecretary of education in 2009-10, Shireman organized the federal response to emerging signs of predatory for-profit career training, leading to a widely discussed set of regulatory reforms and enforcement actions. At the same time, 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. In roles both inside and outside of government, Shireman shepherded the evolution of the nation’s income-based student loan repayment system from its initial adoption in 1992 to its recent expansion and improvement. Shireman’s analysis of local needs in California prompted changes in the funding formula for that state’s community colleges and he worked to improve the ethnic and economic diversity of California’s private colleges. As a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, he works on education policy broadly, with a particular focus on quality assurance, governance, accountability, and consumer protections. A Californian, 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.