Joshua Hagen

Joshua Hagen

Director of Policy and Advocacy

Why I Do What I Do:


“Systemic barriers limit a student’s potential to succeed far too often – I believe wholeheartedly in the transformative power of a college education, and I want to ensure this opportunity is more accessible and equitable.”

Alma Mater(s): State University of New York, College at Geneseo and New York University

Your role in one sentence: I work to gather support for the Campaign’s state legislative and budget priorities, ensuring policies are crafted in a way that helps set students up for success.  

When I am not at work helping students get to and succeed in college I am… catching a movie, spending time outside, or on the hunt for iced coffee.

If not higher education then what cause? Education and advocacy supporting the LGBTQ community.

Formal Bio:

Born and raised in New York, Josh’s journey into higher education began at home, with the unwavering support of his family who encouraged him to pursue a college education. Without the countless hours his parents sacrificed helping him find a campus, academic program, and financial aid options, his path to college would have been much less certain. 

As he began his college education, Josh experienced firsthand some of the barriers that can push the reality of a college degree out of reach. From gaps in financial aid to difficulty accessing academic advising and student support services, there were numerous points where his path to a degree was nearly derailed. With guidance from a handful of faculty and staff mentors on his campus who recognized his potential to succeed, Josh was able to remain on a path to graduation. It was a passing comment from one of these faculty members that sparked his interest in a career in higher education advocacy, and changing students’ college experiences for the better: “if a policy isn’t helping students, what else are we doing if we aren’t fighting to fix that policy?” 

After graduation, Josh went on to continue his education at New York University. Prior to joining the Campaign for College Opportunity, Josh worked on college campuses, supporting initiatives around LGBTQ student advocacy, developing cultural competency training, and creating programs to ensure transfer student success.  

Josh holds bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Communication from SUNY Geneseo, and a master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs from New York University. Josh resides in Sacramento. In his free time, Josh enjoys volunteering on local and national political campaigns, traveling, and exploring the Sacramento area with his dogs.  


Participant, Rockwood Art of Leadership Program

2022-23 Fellow, California Education Policy Fellowship Program