Amy Ellen Duke-Benfield is a Senior Fellow. She serves as NSC’s organizational expert on state postsecondary policy development and implementation including as it intersects with public benefits policy; leverages expertise to inform strategy of NSC policy campaigns; leads special projects that support campaign strategies; and provides technical assistance to NSC’s State Policy and Advocacy Network coalitions and other state partners including state and institutional leaders. Amy Ellen joined NSC in 2019.
Prior to joining NSC, Amy Ellen was a Senior Policy Analyst at the Center for Law and Social Policy. In that role she analyzed and advocated for postsecondary policies to better serve low-income adults and other non-traditional students, including workers, student parents, and students of color. She has authored numerous publications and policy recommendations and provided technical assistance to federal and state advocates and policymakers, and higher education leaders.
Most recently, she led projects focused on helping states better align public benefits and postsecondary policies to address the non-tuition costs facing students and ensuring that state financial aid programs are responsive to the needs of adult learners. She also directed the Benefits Access for College Completion initiative, which sought to increase access to public benefits and financial aid for low-income students at community and technical colleges across the country and served as the state policy lead and a college facilitator for Achieving the Dream’s Working Student Success Network. Earlier in her career, she spearheaded the Center for Law and Social Policy’s federal adult education and higher education advocacy efforts. She also conducted evaluations of welfare reform and workforce development programs while at the Urban Institute.
She holds an undergraduate degree from Swarthmore College and a master’s degree in divinity from Emory University where she focused on social and economic ethics. She is based in Brooklyn, NY and Washington, DC.