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Michael Dannenberg is the founding Director of New America's Education Policy Program and was a Schwartz Senior Fellow until early 2010, when joined the Obama Administration's Department of Education. He created New America's influential education policy blogs and its mini-think tank, the Federal Education Budget Project. In 2007, New America's Higher Ed Watch blog broke repeated front-page news of a national student loan "pay for play" scandal involving improper payments among banks, colleges, and a number of financial aid officers. In conjunction with highlighting elements of the scandal, New America's Education Policy Program identified tens of billions of dollars in federal student loan program inefficiencies and proffered a series of remedies embraced in law.
Prior to joining New America, Dannenberg served as the Senior Education Counsel to Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) for whom he played a significant role in drafting the No Child Left Behind Act, the Education Finance Incentive Grant program, the Taxpayer-Teacher Protection Act, and the National Science Foundation Reauthorization Act. In 2005, National Journal named Dannenberg to "The Hill 100" list of Congress' most influential aides. He is recognized as a national expert on the No Child Left Behind Act, federal education budget, college admissions, student loan policy, and education politics on Capitol Hill. He and his work have appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, and The American Prospect. He has made broadcast appearances on CNN, CNBC, NPR, and the CBS News program, 60 Minutes. Dannenberg is a 1998 graduate of Yale Law School, holds a Master's degree in Education Policy and Administration from Stanford University, and earned a bachelor's degree from Boston University. He self-financed 100% of his post-secondary education with the aid of Pell grants, student loans, scholarships, and work. He's the first in his family to graduate from college.