Providing education-related companies strategic advice and practical assistance with federal decision-makers to develop solutions for today's education challenges.

Cornerstone Government Affairs possesses significant expertise and experience representing a wide variety of education clients including non-profit institutions of higher education and affiliated foundations, for-profit education providers, networks of innovative elementary and secondary schools, non-profit education organizations and leading technology providers. Our professionals provide strategic counsel across the broad range of issues in education policy utilizing an in-depth understanding of substance and legislative processes coupled with political savvy to achieve our clients' long-term objectives.

Higher Education

We have extensive experience representing institutions of higher education, ranging from major public research universities to small, private liberal arts colleges. We routinely design and implement specifically-tailored campaigns to secure funding for university priorities including campus capital projects, research programs, technology improvements, curriculum development and education/outreach activities. Additionally, we assist clients in recognizing and navigating complex policy issues whether in the context of the Higher Education Act or other emerging issues such as the oversight of university endowments or for-profit institutions. In every instance, we utilize advocacy as an opportunity to strengthen our clients' standing with federal policy makers and promote identified long-term strategic objectives. As Congress increasingly examines university-centered issues including controlling tuition costs, expanding access for low and middle-income students and maintaining academic quality, we will continue to position our clients.

Elementary & Secondary Education

As state and local governments continue to cut budgets and services in the face of increased deficits, officials rely more heavily on the Federal Government to bridge critical funding gaps. Against this backdrop, we assist local school districts and community organizations in securing federal funds to wire classrooms for technology education, enhance teacher skills through professional development, translate research into practice, and provide expanded curriculum offerings and services in both traditional and non-traditional educational settings. Additionally, as the Obama Administration seeks to dramatically re-shape the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), we provide on-going strategic counsel to a host of non-profit organizations and educational networks, positioning our clients to demonstrate innovative best-practices, strengthen their standing among policy makers, and impact the design and implementation of NCLB.

Education Industry Representations

Our professionals represent a range of non-profit and corporate interests involved directly and indirectly in the education industry. We assist these entities by developing partnerships with traditional educational interests, identifying and obtaining corporate, grant and congressionally-directed funding opportunities and providing opportunities to directly impact on-going policy debates. Select representatives of success include securing funding for a mobile science laboratory, a program that enables school children to learn about American History through field trips to a client-owned vessel, curriculum, and electronic field trips that served over 8 million children.

Primary Services Offered

  • Strategic counsel and tactical advice
  • Intelligence gathering, issue monitoring, and policy analysis
  • Relationship building and political brand management
  • Design and implementation of government relations and lobbying campaigns to secure measurable legislative and administrative results
  • Message and materials development
  • Legislative drafting

  • Selected Clients

  • Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities (APLU), Washington, DC
  • Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH), Washington, DC
  • Communities in Schools, Alexandria, VA
  • DePaul University, Chicago, IL
  • Lewis and Clark Community College, Godfrey, IL
  • Loyola University, New Orleans, New Orleans, LA
  • Rice University, Houston, TX
  • University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
  • University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
  • University of Maryland, College Park, MD
  • University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN

  • Selected Successes

    I.          National Higher Education Association

    Cornerstone organizes annual and ongoing lobbying efforts for a national association of colleges and universities to advocate for more than $1 billion in annual appropriated funds for research, education, and extension program funding through the Department of Agriculture.  We successfully led efforts to increase the baseline of the Cooperative, State, Research, Education and Extension Service, now the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, by over $400 million in the FY2002-2010 time period.  We drafted legislative language and led advocacy efforts that resulted in the creation of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the authorization, amendment and re-authorization of dozens of statutes affecting agricultural research, education and extension. This language in the 2008 Farm Bill laid the foundation for a $130 million increase in funding for NIFA in fiscal year 2010.

    III.        National Public Health Association

    Cornerstone assisted in getting the past president of a national public health association appointed to the President’s advisory committee on health care reform implementation. With regard to funding, Cornerstone assisted in securing a $5,000,000 increase for competitively awarded prevention research centers and a $2,000,000 increase for centers for public health preparedness in the budget for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cornerstone also advocated with other public health organizations for increased funding for the National Institutes of Health. We also successfully worked with Congress to pass a $31 million authorization for centers for public health preparedness and a student loan repayment program for public health. In FY 2008, Cornerstone assisted in helping the association receive Congressional support to fully restore two grant programs that the President proposed to eliminate. These programs provide competitive grants to schools of public health and total $35 million annually.  

    IV.       For-Profit Education System

    Cornerstone was engaged in April 2010 by a for-profit education system, prior to the release of the Department of Education’s NPRM on Gainful Employment. Like all members of the proprietary education sector, the for-profit education system was concerned about the rule and its possible effect on its schools. They turned to Cornerstone to develop and carry out a strategic plan to impact the NPRM and any and all future regulation and legislation.

    By working with Senate HELP staff and educating House and Senate members as to what it means to be an ABA-accredited law school, Cornerstone was able to bring attention to the small sector.

    Although ABA-accredited law schools were not exempted from the final rule, the Department did include a number of favorable graduate school-specific provisions (loan debt is program and school specific; borrowers with consolidation loans need only pay down interest; amortization schedule now 20 years for doctoral and first-professional degree programs—not 10 for all programs, as originally proposed). In post-rule discussions with HELP staff it was clear the Department heard our argument and made changes on our behalf.

    V.        Other Institutions of Higher Education

    Tier I Research University— Cornerstone has assisted in securing $6,750,000 for University priorities, including $2,500,000 for the prevention of cancer, $1,250,000 for optics manufacturing technologies, $1,000,000 for the enhancement of radiation oncology facilities and $2,000,000 for research into the development of biomedical optics. Most recently, Cornerstone helped secure $2,250,000 for continuation of the cancer program and $1,800,000 for a nanosystems initiative.