California Student Aid Commission
Marlene Garcia is executive director of the California Student Aid Commission, overseeing a budget of close to $5 billion and a team of 125. She is passionate about expanding educational opportunity by removing financial barriers to college success. She served for more than six years as a national leader in Apple Inc.’s Education Strategic Initiatives Group. Additionally, she has served as vice chancellor of government relations for the California Community Colleges system, deputy state policy director for the California State University system, and as a senior policy consultant for the Senate Education Committee. She also served as a senior higher education advisor to former Assembly Speaker Willie L. Brown, Jr. As well as serving on the PPIC Higher Education Center Advisory Council, she is active in several organizations, both nationally and in the Sacramento community. She started her college education at Rio Hondo Community College and transferred to University of California, Los Angeles, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish literature. She received her master’s degree in public policy from Claremont Graduate University.