Amy Ellen Duke-Benfield

Senior Fellow

Areas of expertise: Higher education policy. State and federal financial aid. Nondegree credentials.

Amy Ellen Duke-Benfield is a Senior Fellow at National Skills Coalition, where she serves as the organization’s expert on state higher education policy development and implementation, and how it intersects with public benefits policy. With more than 15 years of experience in higher education policy, Amy Ellen works with state policymakers – and NSC’s State Policy and Advocacy Network – to make higher education more responsive to the educational, financial, and economic needs of adult learners and their multiple roles as parents, workers, and students. She runs National Skills Coalition’s Postsecondary Policy Academy, helping state agency teams work together to advance a high-quality postsecondary skills strategy so more residents can attain quality credentials.

Amy Ellen is a trusted partner to higher education leaders and state lawmakers, providing technical assistance to help states expand financial aid programs, define quality non-degree credentials to advance equity in higher education attainment, and align public benefits and higher education policies to address the financial challenges that students face. Amy Ellen’s policy expertise, insights, and commentary have been cited and published in local and national media outlets, including Inside Higher Ed, Chronicle of Higher Education, The Atlantic, and many others.

Prior to joining National Skills Coalition in 2019, Amy Ellen served as a Senior Policy Analyst at the Center for Law and Social Policy, where she analyzed and advocated for higher education policies to better serve low-income adults and other non-traditional students, including workers, student parents, and students of color. She directed the Benefits Access for College Completion initiative to increase access to public benefits and financial aid for low-income students at community and technical colleges across the country.

Amy Ellen 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.

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Amy Ellen Duke-Benfield