James Dean Ward is principal of policy and economic research at Ithaka S+R on the Educational Transformation team. His work focuses on federal and state higher education regulatory, funding, and financial aid policies. James earned a BA in economics and history from Cornell University and a PhD in higher education policy from the University of Southern California. James has published and presented work on state financial aid programs, performance-based funding policies, for-profit college regulation, institutional finance, and equity in postsecondary opportunities. In addition to serving as a research assistant in the Pullias Center for Higher Education, James was a postdoc research fellow at the University of Southern California. Prior to graduate school, James conducted research on postsecondary finance at the National Association of College and University Business Officers and served as an institutional researcher at Harvard University. As a higher education consultant for ASR Analytics and Hanover Research, he worked on projects related to institutional aid policies, program development, admissions and recruitment practices, and institutional economic and community impact.