Lupita Cortez Alcalá joined the California Student Aid Commission in January 2016 as the Executive Director. Lupita heads the organization and serves as the leader and spokesperson for issues impacting California’s $2 billion Cal Grant student financial aid program. She also oversees delivery of the agency’s Cal Grant, Middle Class Scholarship, California Dream Act, and seven other grant or loan repayment programs, supporting schools and students.
Lupita is also the Chair of the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls. Lupita came to the California Student Aid Commission with comprehensive experience in education policy; program development and evaluation; government and legislative affairs; and, advocacy and community relations. As a chief advisor to State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, Lupita spent more than 12 years with the California Department of Education (CDE) and worked closely with the state Board of Education. Lupita was a key leader in strategic policy for kindergarten through twelfth grade (K-12) education, serving as Deputy Superintendent of instruction and learning support. While there, Lupita advanced issues for English learners; language arts; history; visual & performing arts; physical education; teacher support; migrant students; curriculum and instructional resources; early childhood programs; science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education; high school initiatives; and, career technical education. Lupita was notably responsible for implementing the California State Standards in English Language Arts and Literacy and Mathematics, California English Language Development Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, Blueprint for Environmental Literacy, and Innovate: A Blueprint for Science, Technology, Mathematics and Engineering (STEM). She is credited with creating the 2013 through 2015 California STEM Symposium, overhauling the Migrant Education Program, and implementing $500 million in Career Pathway Trust Grants and the Career Technical Education Model Curriculum Standards and Frameworks.
Lupita previously served as Deputy Legislative Secretary, for Governor Gray Davis. In this capacity, Lupita advised Governor Davis on all K-12 and higher education matters, while helping to increase and expand access to available state programs for the state’s education community.
Lupita began her career as an Early Academic Outreach Counselor for the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), serving students in the San Diego region.
In 2014 and 2015, Lupita was a participant in the prestigious Resnick Aspen Action Forum in Aspen, Colorado. Lupita holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California, San Diego and a master’s degree in planning administration and social policy from the Harvard University, School of Education in Boston, Massachusetts. Lupita is a native of Tijuana, Mexico and a former financial aid recipient. She is a PUENTE Advisory Board Member and a Mariemont Elementary school site council member. Lupita is passionate about helping students and parents navigate their personal pathway to higher education.