Director of Student Experience (UX Researcher/Designer)


Better Future Forward (BFF) is a non-profit social enterprise dedicated to using Income Share Agreements (ISAs) to make high-quality postsecondary education pathways more accessible and affordable, particularly for our nation’s most disadvantaged student populations. By reforming how we pay for education, BFF is working to rebuild America’s higher education system around the principles of broad accessibility, universal affordability, and student success.


In partnership with educational institutions and other community organizations, Better Future Forward (BFF) builds income share agreement (ISA) programs designed to significantly expand educational opportunity for students pursuing postsecondary education, with a strong focus on addressing inequities facing disadvantaged student populations. Using equity-based design, the Director of Student Experience will oversee all of the design and user experience aspects of BFF’s ISA programs, including communicating this novel idea to students, parents, and partners, the design of key program processes, and the design of a variety of interventions designed to help students succeed during and after school. Low-income students in particular face numerous unique complexities and challenges in their path through postsecondary education, and a key responsibility of this individual is to cultivate a deep understanding of the lives of our students so he or she can serve as an internal advocate in terms of how to design our programs to best meet their needs.

Tasks and Responsibilities

  • Own and lead all aspects of the research process for achieving the objectives above, from planning, scoping and recruiting to selecting appropriate methods, conducting the research, analyzing the data and presenting findings internally and to other stakeholders. Research will involve a wide variety of student populations, including low-income college students, undocumented students, students interesting in re-enrolling, and low-income working adults looking to enhance their career opportunities, and will also cross many geographies.

  • Conduct all research activities and lead stakeholders through the journey and analysis phase to influence product strategy. In particular, because ISAs are a novel financial tool, this individual will work with other team members who are focused on other key elements of program design—modeling, legal, financial aid, etc.—to shape influence product design decisions from a user experience/design perspective, with a particular focus on the principles of equity-based design.

  • Conduct interviews, focus groups, and other outreach to students and their parents to continuously improve our understanding of how best to design and communicate our programs.

  • Work extensively with our institutional and community-based organization partners to better understand how as partners we can put this tool to best use to serve their students and their organization’s overall mission.

  • Manage the design and information architecture of the organization’s website, including program sites.

  • Oversee the student experience aspects of all key program processes, including the application process, servicing, interventions designed to support students during and after school, and other specific innovations to the program designed to enhance its effectiveness for students. This includes providing robust feedback to developers on the design of an online platform for these programs.

  • Provide feedback on research efforts, such as student surveys, undertaken by BFF and/or our partners.


  • 5+ years experience conducting user research for continuous product development process.

  • Strong understanding of strengths and shortcomings of various quantitative and qualitative research methods, including when and how to apply them during the various product phases.

  • Strong storytelling and presentation skills to translate insights into actionable design and engineering recommendations in a time efficient manner for a product team.

  • Extensive experience delivering high quality user research and driving impact through insights

  • Experience with a variety of research methods: observational research, user/stakeholder interviews, survey's, card sorting, usability studies, etc.

  • Expertise in a wide range of methodologies and tools, and can develop innovative new methods where necessary

  • Sound ability to scope, plan and execute each step of the research process from end to end

  • Foundational knowledge of information architecture, user centered design principles and content strategy

  • Highly motivated, able to work unsupervised, multi-task and prioritize workload

  • Willingness and ability to work independently and with a team that is remotely distributed.

Please note that if you meet many of these qualifications but not all of them, and you are excited to grow into the rest, we encourage you to apply.

Position type and location

The position will be full-time position, ideally located in Chicago, which is near many of our partners. This job will involve occasional travel (estimate 1-2 short trips—one or two days each—per month) as we serve students and partners in many different areas of the country.

To apply

To apply to this position, please submit a resume, cover letter, and portfolio to