Zakiya Smith
Strategy Director

Higher Ed

  • Access
  • Financial aid

Recently named one of Forbes’ top 30 under 30 in education, Zakiya Smith is a strategy director at the Lumina Foundation, the nation’s largest foundation dedicated solely to higher education. She leads the work of the foundation to develop new models of student financial support. Smith was previously a senior advisor for education at the White House Domestic Policy Council, where she was tasked with developing President Barack Obama’s higher education policy. Smith also served as a senior adviser at the U. S. 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.