David Croom is assistant director for postsecondary achievement and innovation of Ascend at the Aspen Institute. David comes to Ascend with expertise and interest around racial equity, student finance, federal policy as it relates to adult students and a desire to elevate student voice in improved practice and policymaking.
Prior to joining Ascend, David was HBCU Lead and Higher Education Designer at Education Design Lab where he led an institutional engagement with UNCF’s Career Pathways Initiative. For over four years, David was a strategy officer in Lumina Foundation’s Washington, D.C. office where he focused on the Foundation’s work to advance federal policy and pursue issues pertaining to postsecondary finance, both toward the goal of increased attainment of high-quality credentials. Before Lumina, he was a policy analyst focused on federal postsecondary education in ACT’s office of strategic initiatives and, during graduate school, spent a year working at nonprofit PolicyLink with their California Boys and Men of Color Initiative work as well as consulting the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and nonprofit California Competes. His first foray into federal policy was as congressional aide to Congresswoman Maxine Waters, tasked with the member’s education portfolio with a specific emphasis on regulation of for-profit higher education.
David currently serves on the board of the National Campus Leadership Council. Native to South Florida but now a resident of Washington, DC, David holds a Master of Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy and a bachelor’s degree from MIT’s Sloan School of Management with a minor in political science.