Partnership for Education Advancement is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization committed to supporting social mobility by strengthening mission-focused colleges and universities that primarily serve low-income, first-generation, and under-resourced students and families.
We are dedicated to the following principles as we carry out our mission:
Our resources and investments align with students’ future success in evident and measurable ways.
We must acknowledge and uphold the capacity of minority serving institutions, including HBCUs, to lead equity efforts.
Transformation requires solutions that are sustainable, scalable, and broadly adoptable.
Partnership for Education Advancement (formerly known as Education Finance Institute) was formed in 2018 by Tony James, Executive Vice Chairman of The Blackstone Group, and Jim Runcie, former Chief Operating Officer of Federal Student Aid (FSA), the higher education regulatory oversight and student financing arm of the federal government. Mr. James and Mr. Runcie believe strongly in the benefit of obtaining a college education and have seen first-hand the significant and generational impact of higher education on students’ lives. They have also witnessed the structural inequities that keep this opportunity out of reach for many Americans.
Our efforts to improve equitable access to educational opportunity include strengthening and sustaining institutions that primarily serve under-resourced students. These schools include minority-serving institutions (MSIs) and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) that play a pivotal role in socioeconomic mobility and social justice within our country. These institutions have served their mission under challenging resource constraints.
Partnership for Education Advancement collaborates with higher education leaders, philanthropy, socially responsible businesses, and policymakers to develop solutions that advance education opportunities for a more equitable society.
Management and Staff
Chief Executive Officer
Zina Evans, Ph.D.
SVP, Enrollment Management
and Student Success
Director of Technology Strategy
Chief of Staff
Associate Director of Technology
Wendell D. Hall, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Institutional Partnerships
Robin S. Minor
SVP, Institutional Partnerships
and Risk Management
Ka'rin Thornburg, Ph.D.
Director of Enrollment Managment
Director of Risk Management
SVP, Technology and Project Management Office
Program Partnership Manager
Our Advisory Board
Advisory Board members are nationally recognized leaders committed to improving equal access to higher education and supporting holistic solutions that can benefit students across the country. We are grateful to the following individuals who have agreed to serve:
John Barnhill, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management, Florida State University
Dr. Doug Christiansen, Vice President for University Enrollment Affairs, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, Vanderbilt University
Barbara Gill, Associate Vice President, Enrollment Management, University of Maryland
Ingrid Hayes, Senior Vice President for Enrollment Management, Spelman College
Kedra Ishop, PhD, Vice President, Enrollment Management, University of Southern California
Joseph Montgomery, Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Success, Tuskegee University
Jim Nondorf, Vice President, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, University of Chicago
Matt Proto, Vice President, Dean of Admissions, Colby College
Matt Sessa, Executive Director of Student Registration and Financial Services, University of Pennsylvania
Francisco Valines, Director of Financial Aid, Florida International University