Kim Cook, NCAN’s executive director since 2008, has worked in the higher education and college access field for her entire professional career, including experience in undergraduate admissions and financial aid, administration of a last-dollar scholarship program, and a succession of responsibilities at NCAN. As a former Pell Grant recipient herself, she personally understands the imperative to help more Americans–especially those who have been historically underserved by higher education–get a postsecondary credential. At NCAN, she sets the vision for supporting 400 member organizations across the country serving an estimated 2 million students annually in their mission to achieve significantly higher college enrollment and graduation rates than national averages for low-income students and students of color.
She serves on the editorial board of the Journal of College Access, the advisory board of the American University Center for Postsecondary Readiness and Success, and the TXCAN Statewide Scaling Committee. She is often consulted to speak on federal policy issues and building college access and success collaboratives. In 2016, she was recognized as a White House Champion of Change for College Opportunity.
Prior to joining NCAN in 1999, she was a Senior Program Associate at Plan for Social Excellence, Inc., a foundation supporting innovative projects in education, and served as its Grants Manager and Scholars Program Manager. Previously, she was as a college admission counselor at Pace University in New York. She holds a Masters in Public Administration from Pace University and a Bachelors degree in Communications, Law, Economics and Government from The American University (Washington, DC). She has completed continuing professional development through courses in Georgetown University’s Certificate in Non-Profit Management and Harvard University’s Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management institute.