Higher Education Program Director

Students have the power to shape the future we will inherit. The PIRGs were started by students over 50 years ago who recognized that there are a lot of problems in the world, that solutions exist both on campus and off, and that college students can make lasting change on issues such as clean energy, hunger and homelessness and global warming.

We do this work because students have always been at the forefront of social change movements. Everything from the civil rights movement to protecting the environment, students are leading the way to build a better future for our country. Whether or not those students make real progress depends on whether they are organized, have the skills to be effective, and have a strategic plan to get things done.

And that’s where we come in.

The PIRGs have been working for nearly 50 years to amplify the power of student activism, and help students make real change.

The heart of our program are student-funded student-directed chapters.

Our chapters provide the training, professional support and resources students need so they can get organized, mobilized, and energized to push for a greener, healthier and more meaningful future. U.S. PIRG is hiring a National Higher Education Director to work with our national program staff in Washington, D.C., to build support for student organizing, deeper support from donors and oversee our student centered campaigns, such as textbook affordability, doubling Pell Grants and the Student Borrowers Bill of Rights.

Representative Responsibilities

  • Coalition building: Build support around our mission in key constituencies at the campus, state and national level. Represent the Student PIRGs and U.S. PIRG in DC at conferences, key meetings and other events. Work with groups such as Rock the Vote, Voto Latino, Young Invincibles, Student Government Association and many others.
  • Advocacy: Take our policies directly to key decision-makers in campus leadership, the statehouse, in Congress or wherever important decisions are being made. Run multiple lobby days for students and staff.
  • Campaign strategy: Assess opportunities for building political support for our agenda through coalition-building, grassroots organizing, media coverage and message development.
  • Program development: Develop tools and student resource guides for priority campaigns. Identify key campaign strategies and tactics around student debt, textbook affordability and other campaigns as appropriate.
  • Fundraising: Write grant proposals, build relationships with foundation staff and meet with major donors.
  • Staff recruitment and development: Recruit new staff and volunteers. Oversee textbook and other program staff to develop and implement work plans; provide training and leadership development opportunities.


Candidates must have at least 3 years of relevant professional experience. Qualified candidates will have a demonstrated commitment to citizen-based social change, as well as a track record of leadership, excellent judgement, discretion and significant project oversight. Experience working in student organizing, student government or campaign work preferred.


Direct your application to Leigh-Anne Cole, Deputy Director.


Target annual compensation for this position is commensurate with the relevant professional experience and/or advanced degrees that a candidate has. U.S. PIRG offers a competitive benefits package.


Washington, DC

Things to know when you apply

U.S. PIRG is part of The Public Interest Network, a group of organizations that share a vision of a better world, a set of core values, and a strategic approach to social change. Click here for things you should know about our network when you apply.

U.S. PIRG is an equal opportunity employer.


If you’re interested in learning more about PIRG, fill out this form and we’ll send you additional information, and link you to our online application.