Senior Program Officer

Ascendium Education Group, Inc.
Wisconsin, United States
Salary Not specified
Closing date
Oct 2, 2021

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Position Type
Programs, Other Programs, Program Administration and Management, Administrative, Other Administrative
Philanthropic Advisors
Employment Type
Full Time

Senior program officer with expertise, network and passion needed to join growing grantmaking team at mission-driven organization

Ascendium Education Group (Ascendium) has helped millions of learners pursue postsecondary education since 1967, when it was formed to help fulfill the promise of the landmark Higher Education Act of 1965. Over the years, Ascendium has grown to become the nation’s largest federal student loan guarantor, providing information, tools and counseling to help millions of borrowers nationwide avoid default and keep the door to re-enrollment open. We guarantee federal student loans, conceive and develop innovative products and services that support student success and loan repayment, and invest in studying and improving postsecondary education practices through our philanthropy.

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, net proceeds from Ascendium’s guaranty and other operations are used to fund Ascendium’s philanthropy. The philanthropy team is comprised of program, grants management, and learning and impact staff who all have a shared commitment to advancing our mission. As a national funder, our mission is to elevate opportunities for learners from low-income backgrounds so they can achieve postsecondary educational and career success. Our grantmaking focuses on transforming systems of postsecondary education and workforce so they can support low-income populations, especially those in historically underrepresented groups: first-generation students, incarcerated adults, rural community members, students of color and veterans. The philanthropy team currently makes grants in four focus areas: Remove Structural Barriers to Success, Streamline Key Learner Transitions, Expand Postsecondary Education in Prison, Support Rural Postsecondary Education and Workforce Training. Across our four focus areas, our funding supports innovative ideas, the creation of an evidence base, and the expansion and replication of effective practices.

We’re looking for an experienced grantmaker to advance our postsecondary education in prison focus area. Senior program officers are responsible for leading work in a particular area of Ascendium’s strategy by designing and leading complex grants and partnerships, gaining deep expertise in their strategic focus area, and serving as a thought leader to advance learning and scaled impact in the field.

These are some of the qualifications we’re looking for:

  • 5+ years of experience as a strategic nonprofit leader, with proven expertise in higher education, prison education, or related fields, and/or experience as an impact-driven grantmaker focused on systems change
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Excellent organizational, problem solving and coordination skills, with demonstrated ability to manage a diverse and demanding workload

Ascendium staff are temporarily working remotely from their homes due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the construction of new headquarters in Madison, WI, opening in January 2022. This role will be based in Madison.

Ascendium Education Group employees enjoy an outstanding benefit package designed to provide employees and their families with a high degree of security.

If you’re interested in this job opening, please visit our careers website and click “Find Open Positions at Ascendium.” Select the option to apply online, create your profile and fill out the application for the job opening. A fully completed application, including a resume/CV and cover letter, must be submitted to be considered for this position.

Ascendium Education Group, Inc. (Ascendium) provides equal employment opportunity to all individuals regardless of their race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, creed, disability, veteran status or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law. We are strongly committed to this policy and believe in the concept and spirit of the law.

If you would like assistance with the application process, please contact us at We invite all applicants to complete the Voluntary Affirmative Action questions when submitting application materials. The questions are found at the end of the online application process. To learn more about our commitment to Equal Employment Opportunity, please visit

Ascendium has contractual obligations that require criminal, employment and education background investigations as a condition of employment.

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