The College Promise Campaign is a national, non-partisan initiative to build broad public support for accessible, affordable quality College Promise programs that enables hardworking students to complete a college degree or certificate, starting in America’s community colleges.
The Campaign empowers community colleges and their education, business, government and philanthropy partners to enact solutions for students to graduate from college, advance in the workforce, further their education, and build rewarding lives in our nation’s communities and states.
When the College Promise Campaign launched in 2015, there were 53 programs across the country. Now we have over 200 College Promise programs in 44 states, 23 statewide programs across the country, and momentum is growing every day.
The College Promise Team
Dr. Martha Kanter leads the College Promise Campaign, a national initiative to increase college access, affordability, quality, and completion in American higher education, starting in America’s community colleges. She is also a Senior Fellow at New York University’s Steinhardt Institute for Higher Education Policy. She specializes in policy efforts to identify and apply innovative, evidence-based education interventions, financing models, and behavioral incentives to raise America’s high school and college graduation rates. From 2009-2013, Dr. Kanter served as the U.S. Under Secretary of Education, overseeing all federal postsecondary statutory, regulatory, and administrative policies and programs, including the $175B annual federal student aid programs, higher education, adult education, career-technical education, international education, and 6 White House Initiatives. From 1993-2009, she was president of De Anza College and then chancellor of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District in Silicon Valley, California. She began her career as an alternative high school teacher in Lexington, MA. Dr. Kanter holds a B.A. degree in Sociology from Brandeis University, an M.Ed. from Harvard University, and an Ed.D. from the University of San Francisco.
Rosye Cloud serves as the Vice President of Strategy and Innovation for the College Promise Campaign. She is a proven advocate and public policy expert on matters of national and domestic policy, government performance, adult education, disruptive innovation, and economic opportunities. Ms. Cloud previously served as the White House Director of Policy for Veterans, Wounded, and Military Families, the Office of Management and Budget as the Executive Director of the Performance Improvement Council, Dept of Defense Senior Fellow, Director of Business Transformation, and Family Services Division Chief. She has graduate degrees and post-graduate certificates from the National Defense University, Harvard Business School, MIT Sloan, Darden, and University of Oklahoma.
Robyn Hiestand is the Director of Research and Policy at the College Promise Campaign providing strategic direction on research, policy, and outreach. Prior to joining the College Promise Campaign, she was a consultant on matters relating to education finance and the federal budget and appropriations process. Her background includes approximately eight years at the U.S. Senate Budget Committee in various levels of influence and authority. One of her many accomplishments includes the draft and design of multiple education legislative proposals designed to increase student access to high quality college education without the burdens of carrying large amounts of student loan debt. A native of Duluth, Minnesota, Robyn holds a BA degree from Augsburg College and a Master’s in Public Policy from the London School of Economics.
Anjana Venkatesan currently serves as Senior Policy and Research Advisor at the College Promise Campaign where she advances the Campaign’s goal of promoting research driven best practices for Promise Programs around the country. Her work includes the development and expansion of the College Promise Research Network which aims to facilitate information sharing among Promise researchers and connect researchers with program practitioners in order to improve Promise Programs and help ensure student success.
Ms. Venkatesan received her bachelor’s degree as well as a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Alabama. She previously served as a Senior Research Associate at the University of Alabama’s Education Policy Center.
Sarah joined the College Promise Campaign as the Executive Assistant to the Executive Director after graduating with a degree in political science from Appalachian State University. Sarah used her academic career as an opportunity to further her passion for education policy, from summers spent working at a literacy program in Charlotte, NC to an education policy internship with the U.S. Senate Committee for Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. At her university, Sarah participated in several research assistantships focused on the experiences of underserved students in higher education. She also founded the City to Mountains Student Exchange, a program which provided low-income middle school students with an outdoor education experience in the Pisgah National Forest. Sarah had the privilege of being a member of the first class of Wilson Scholars at Appalachian, and her experience with the opportunity that comes from the intersection of philanthropy and free college drive her today in her role at the College Promise Campaign.
Matthew Salsbury graduated in Spring 2018 from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he received a B.A. in Political Science and Communication Studies. Matthew’s passion for college accessibility comes from his personal experience of working full time to pay his way through college. He joined the College Promise Campaign in October of 2018 as a Policy Fellow, and he now works as a Communications and Program Associate. Matthew plans to continue his work toward improving the lives of underserved communities by promoting equity and accessibility in higher education.