Jamie P. Merisotis is president and CEO of Lumina Foundation, the nation’s largest private foundation committed solely to enrolling and graduating more students from college.
Long a champion of the idea that higher education enhances both society and individuals, Merisotis has worked for decades to increase educational opportunity among low-income, minority and other historically underrepresented populations.
At Lumina, Merisotis is continuing that effort by employing a strategic, outcomes based approach in pursuing the Foundation’s mission of expanding college access and success. Under his leadership, Lumina has embraced an ambitious and specific goal: to ensure that, by 2025, 60 percent of Americans hold high-quality degrees and credentials – up from the current level of less than 40 percent. It is Merisotis’ aim that all of Lumina’s efforts and activities – grant making, communication, evaluation, policy advocacy and convening – work toward achieving that goal.
Merisotis is an expert on a wide range of higher education issues. He is well versed in domestic and international issues related to higher education access and success, including student financial aid, minority-serving colleges and universities, global higher education policy strategies, learning outcomes, and the social and economic benefits of higher education. He is recognized as an authority on college and university financing and has published major studies and reports on topics ranging from higher education rankings to technology-based learning.
Before joining Lumina Foundation in January 2008, Merisotis was founding president of the Institute for Higher Education Policy. Founded in Washington, D.C., in 1993, IHEP is an independent, nonpartisan organization regarded as one of the world’s premier higher education research and policy centers. While at
IHEP, Merisotis helped establish the Alliance for Equity in Higher Education, an unprecedented coalition of national associations whose members include Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and Hispanic-Serving Institutions.
Prior to founding IHEP, Merisotis served as executive director of the National Commission on Responsibilities for Financing Postsecondary Education, a bipartisan commission appointed by the U.S. president and congressional leaders. He authored the commission’s final report, Making College Affordable Again, and many of the commission’s recommendations became national policy during the 1990s. Merisotis also helped create the Corporation for National and Community Service (AmeriCorps), serving as an adviser to senior management on issues related to the quality and effectiveness of national service initiatives.
Merisotis’ work has been published extensively in the higher education field. He has written and edited several books and monographs, and he is a frequent contributor to magazines, journals and newspapers.
He serves as a regular commentator on the award-winning PBS program Nightly Business Report, which consistently ranks as the most-watched business news program on television. His writing has appeared in The Washington Post, the National Journal, the Times Higher Education Supplement (London), The Chronicle of HigherEducation, the Huffington Post, Politico, and other print and online publications.
Merisotis has served as trustee and director for numerous organizations around the globe. He is a member of the board of trustees of Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, and previously served as president of the college’s alumni association. He also serves on the board of Anatolia College in Thessaloniki, Greece, a bicultural institution that includes a college, a high school and an elementary school.
He serves on several Indiana-based boards and commissions, including the Central Indiana Corporate
Partnership, the leading voice for regional economic development in the Indianapolis metropolitan area, as well as The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, the world’s largest museum for children. He also serves as vice president/president-elect of the Economic Club of Indiana. Merisotis previously served as chairman of the board for Scholarship America, the nation’s largest private-sector scholarship and educational support organization; as vice chairman of the board of directors for the Washington Internship Institute; and as a member of the executive committee of the London-based European Access Network.