Neeta Sonalkar

Director of Higher Education Innovation

As the Director of Higher Education Innovation, Neeta Sonalkar leads BDT’s work to help students enroll in and graduate from college with reduced financial burden by streamlining access to financial aid and public benefits.  

Neeta brings over 10 years of diverse experience in developing programs and strategies that advance educational equity. At the College Board, she designed national initiatives to improve completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and student public benefits access in partnership with BDT, including the development of Wyatt®, a text message-based chatbot that has helped over 30,000 students access $39 million in federal financial aid since its inception. Previously, Neeta ran a national leadership development program for emerging practitioners in policy and advocacy and built evaluation systems at Leadership for Educational Equity. Prior roles have also included implementing organizational planning and strategic goal-setting processes.  

Neeta earned her B.A. in economics and international studies from Northwestern University, a Master of Public Policy from the University of Southern California, and is a graduate of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs.