Throughout her childhood, Shelbe always enjoyed going to school. With her parents’ support, she went to college and realized how transformative that experience can be. This ignited her passion for higher education, leading her to work in a high school as a college advisor and eventually making her way to Washington, D.C. to tackle higher education access and success issues on a national scope.

Today, Shelbe is an Education Policy Advisor working toward Third Way’s goal of changing the conversation about federal higher education policy from one narrowly focused only on cost to one that prioritizes students and taxpayers truly getting a return on their investment in higher education. This includes promoting policies that improve student outcomes in our higher education system and holding schools accountable if most of their students can’t graduate, get a good-paying job, or pay down their loans.

Prior to her time at Third Way, Shelbe interned at the Alliance for Excellent Education, the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the College Board, and the National College Access Network. She also served two years as a college advisor in two small, rural Michigan high schools through an AmeriCorps program prior to moving to Washington, D.C. for graduate school. Shelbe graduated with a B.S. in Political Science from Central Michigan University and has a Master of Public Policy from the George Washington University.

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Published July 14, 2022

The 101 on NACIQI

Published June 9, 2022

Using the Payment Pause to Reinvent the Cohort Default Rate

Published February 15, 2022

What Can Higher Education Learn from Outcomes-Based Health Care Funding?


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Third Way is a non-profit organization. Our policy innovations, rigorous research, and issue campaigns are made possible by the sustained engagement and generous contributions of our supporters. For more information on how to support the work of Third Way, please contact:

Emily Sternfeld
Vice President of Development and External Affairs
(202) 384 1700
[email protected]


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