Skip Office Navigation
OPE: Office of Postsecondary Education
Current Section
Michelle Asha Cooper, Ph.D., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Higher Education Programs – Biography

Michelle Asha Cooper, Ph.D., currently serves as the acting assistant secretary for postsecondary education and deputy assistant secretary for higher education programs at the U.S. Department of Education. In these roles, she leads higher education’s pandemic recovery efforts by managing $76 billion in pandemic aid for students and institutions; oversees a $3 billion grantmaking portfolio that supports programs and builds capacity at colleges and universities, including those that serve large numbers of under-resourced students; promotes innovations that help to increase college completion, quality, and value; enhances students’ and faculty global competencies and awareness; and advances reforms that drive social and economic mobility for America’s students.

Dr. Cooper brings more than 20 years of experience to this work. Most recently, she served as the president and chief executive officer of the Institute for Higher Education Policy, where she managed the organization’s expansive research portfolio and advocacy agenda. She has also held leadership positions at the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance (U.S. Department of Education), Association of American Colleges and Universities, the Council for Independent Colleges, and King’s College.

A recognized advocate for racial and economic equity, experienced practitioner, and demonstrated leader, Dr. Cooper is a champion of access and success for all students in higher education.

Last Modified: 04/28/2022