The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Public Program: Higher Education Policy Issues in the 21st Century with Zakiya Smith this Monday at 4:30 pm

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Please join us for Zakiya Smith’s talk, “A Millennial’s Take on Emerging Higher Education Policy Issues in the 21st Century” in Rockefeller 003 at 4:30 pm on Monday, September 22nd.

In today’s economy, earning a post-secondary degree is essential to remain competitive. Out of all of the commentary surrounding higher education, college affordability remains at the forefront of discussion among college faculty and staff, journalists, and the government. The cost of higher education has skyrocketed in the US over the past few decades, and there have been many calls to improve its affordability. Recently, President Obama has announced plans to help everyone afford college by keeping costs down and improving financial aid. 

Zakiya Smith

In her talk, Zakiya Smith will describe the challenges facing higher education as well as the recent policy climate and some of the emerging proposals to reform it. She will also address her own thoughts about college affordability and completion, as well as how her own career path led her to work on these issues. Ultimately, her goal is to think of better ways to improve the access, success, and quality of higher education in addition to increasing the proportion of college graduates in our society.

Recently named one of Forbes' Top 30 under 30 in Education, Zakiya Smith is currently a Strategy Director at the Lumina Foundation, the nation's largest foundation dedicated solely to higher education. At Lumina, she leads the work of the foundation to develop new models of student financial support for higher education. Prior to her work in philanthropy, Smith served as a Senior Advisor for Education at the White House Domestic Policy Council, where she was tasked with developing President Obama's higher education policy. Smith also served in the Obama administration as a senior adviser at the US Department of Education, where she developed programmatic, policy and budget solutions to respond to pressing challenges in college access, affordability, and completion. Smith has provided insights on higher education policy at dozens of conferences, briefings, and panels across the nation. She has been featured on C-SPAN and Fox Business News as well as profiled in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Forbes Magazine, and Diverse Issues in Higher Education. Smith holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science and Secondary Education from Vanderbilt University and a master's degree in Education Policy and Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences