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Update

James Cole, Jr. Joins Student Defense as Senior Advisor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 8, 2021

MEDIA CONTACT:
press@defendstudents.org | 202-734-7495


James Cole, Jr. Joins Student Defense as Senior Advisor

Student Defense today announced that James Cole, Jr. is joining the organization as a Senior Advisor. Cole brings deep experience in higher education equity, oversight, and accessibility expansion, and has worked to improve educational attainment for underrepresented groups in both K-12 and higher education. He previously served as Delegated Deputy Secretary of Education and General Counsel at the Department of Education under President Obama, and as a board member of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. Cole currently serves as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Jasco Group, a multidimensional investment management firm based in New York City.

“Student Defense has done critical work to protect students from unethical and illegal practices in higher education and representing students who fall victim to predatory schemes. I’m looking forward to working with this dedicated team to continue the crucial work they’ve already undertaken and help them further their mission to protect students’ rights and expand educational and economic opportunity in higher education,” said Cole.

“James is uniquely positioned to offer expertise based on years of experience working on issues of equity, education, accountability and economics of higher education and student debt,” said Aaron Ament, Student Defense President. “We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with him as we continue developing strategies to protect students and hold government agencies and predatory corporations accountable.”

Student Defense is a non-partisan, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that works, through litigation and advocacy, to advance students’ rights to educational opportunity and to ensure that higher education provides a launching point for economic mobility. Launched in 2017, Student Defense has won lawsuits protecting consumers from student loan servicing companies, reversing the repeal of Obama-era student protection regulations, preventing the Department of Education from seizing borrowers’ wages during the pandemic and more. The organization’s 100 Day Docket lays out a roadmap for how the Department of Education can implement powerful new protections for students and taxpayers under existing law, and the Biden Administration has made partial progress on many of the issues it raises.

You can find Cole’s full biography below.

James Cole, Jr. is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Jasco Group, a multidimensional investment management firm based in New York City.

James has held several previous positions focusing on educational achievement, access, and opportunity for all students. He currently serves as the chairman of the board of directors of Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow, which provides accessible business education for at-promise Black and Brown youth from 3rd grade through high school, as a member of the board of directors of Jumpstart, which provides high quality programming to pre-school children in underserved communities to close the kindergarten readiness gap, and as a member of Fontanelle Academy of Early Learning, which provides high-quality infant child care and early childhood education services to families.

From January 2016 through January 2017, James was the US Delegated Deputy Secretary of Education and General Counsel. As Delegated Deputy Secretary, he served as the chief operating officer and chief legal officer at the US Department of Education, and oversaw a broad range of operational, management, policy, legal and program functions. James also oversaw the Department's work on President Obama's My Brother's Keeper Task Force, which sought to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color, and to ensure that all young people are able to reach their full potential.

From 2004 to 2011, James served on the board of directors of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. From 2005 to 2011, he also served on the board of trustees of Prep for Prep, a New York City-based youth leadership development program that identifies and prepares students of color for the rigors of independent day and boarding schools.

Prior to joining the US Department of Education, James served as the Deputy General Counsel at the US Department of Transportation. Prior to joining DOT, James was a partner in the law firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in New York City, where his practice focused primarily on advising corporations in the US and around the world on mergers and acquisitions, and corporate governance.

James is also currently a member of the board of directors of American International Group.

James lives in New York City with his young son.