Marlene L. Garcia
Executive Director

CSAC Executive Director Marlene Garcia

As a low-income, first-generation college student who received a Cal Grant to pay for college, I consider it a true honor to lead the CA Student Aid Commission in serving the many students like me who would not succeed in college with out financial aid.

Marlene Garcia is the Executive Director of the California Student Aid Commission where she oversees a budget of $3.2 billion and a team of 125. She is passionate about expanding educational opportunity by removing financial barriers to college success.

Ms. Garcia brings 30 years’ experience working on education policy issues for a variety of government and higher education institutions. She served more than six years as a national leader in Apple Inc.’s Education Strategic Initiatives Group. Additionally, in her distinguished career, she has served as Vice Chancellor of Government Relations for the California Community College System, Deputy State Policy Director for the California State University System, and as a Senior Policy Consultant in the Senate Education Committee. She also served as a Senior Higher Education Advisor to former Assembly Speaker Willie L. Brown, Jr. 

Ms. Garcia has been nationally recognized for her work and was featured as one of 11 “Higher Education’s New Generation of Thinkers” in 2005 edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education. She was also a Fellow with the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education in 2004. She is active in several organizations both nationally and in the Sacramento community where she resides with husband Phil Garcia. She is the mother of three grown sons.

Marlene is originally from Pico Rivera, 25 miles east of Los Angeles. She is the daughter of a Mexican immigrant mother and a first-generation college going student. She started her college education at Rio Hondo Community College and transferred to UCLA where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish Literature. She also received her Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Claremont Graduate University. Her life’s work has been to remove racial equity gaps that keep far too many talented students from completing their college studies.