Amy Ellen Duke-Benfield is the Senior Director for Advocacy and Policy of The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice. Prior to joining The Hope Center, Amy Ellen was a Senior Fellow at National Skills Coalition (NSC) where she was the organization’s expert on state higher education policy development and implementation. Amy Ellen also served as a Senior Policy Analyst at the Center for Law and Social Policy, where she analyzed and advocated for federal and state higher education policies to better serve low-income adults and others, including workers, student parents, and students of color. She developed and advocated for a comprehensive student aid framework that combines financial aid, public benefits, and refundable tax credits to increase postsecondary access for low-income students. 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. She also worked at the Urban Institute where she contributed to several evaluations of state welfare reform programs. Amy Ellen holds an undergraduate degree from Swarthmore College and a master’s degree in divinity from Emory University, with a focus on social and economic ethics.
Amy Ellen’s hope: That we can knock down the social and postsecondary policy barriers that prevent students from completing and build up new ones centered on equity that ensure students thrive.