Kristen Soares
Vice Chair


Kristen Soares is President of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (AICCU), the organization voice for over 80 private, non-profit colleges and universities across California. She is the organization’s first female president and was selected in 2011 after a nationwide search. Under her leadership to advance new policy initiatives to address the needs of today’s college students, the association adopted an agreement with the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office to align the Associate Degree for Transfer pathway, a groundbreaking program to improve and simplify transfer from a community college to an independent college or university.

With an extensive background in higher education policy, administration, and governmental advocacy, Soares previous positions include Senior Associate Vice President for government relations and civic engagement at the University of Southern California (USC), where she provided strategic direction and leadership for USC’s government relations offices in Los Angeles, Sacramento and Washington, D.C. 

She currently serves on the Governor’s Council for Post-Secondary Education, the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) Higher Education Center, the California Intersegmental Coordinating Council (chair) and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities State Executives Council.