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John Bailey ’95

Former White House official saves student-loan program during economic crisis

When John Bailey ’95 was tapped as special assistant for domestic policy to President George W. Bush in October 2007, he anticipated applying his education and labor-policy expertise to programs such as No Child Left Behind and the Higher Education Act. A former policy-management-studies major, Bailey had no idea he would be coordinating an emergency response to the 2008 economic crisis.

Bailey’s focus was stabilizing the rapidly deteriorating student-loan credit market. He worked with senior administration officials to launch four emergency programs to address nearly $200 billion inloans. “That ended up taking most of my time,” he recalls. “[Student loans] were the canary in the coal mine.” As a result of the programs, not a single eligible student was denied a federal loan.

Now, as a director at Dutko Worldwide, a nonpartisan government-relations organization, Bailey oversees a wide range of policy issues—from health care and information technology to education and telecommunications. “There’s a lot of research and analysis,” he says. “It reminds me of policy studies at Dickinson.”

Looking back on a career that spans the U.S. Commerce and Education departments as well as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bailey adds, “It’s amazing how well Dickinson prepared me, with its interdisciplinary theme. These issues aren’t merely political, but touch on economics, ethics, law. They require thinking through problems from as many perspectives as possible.” 

Published February 12, 2012