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Higher Ed Conference

Connecting. Learning. Organizing.

NEA 2024 Higher Ed Conference

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Check out the 2024 conference program

Jon Ossoff
Senator Jon Ossoff

We are pleased to announce that U. S. Senator Jon Ossoff (D-GA) will join us as a special guest at our opening plenary on Friday, March 15.

Sen. Jon Ossoff is a true ally of public education. In 2020, he was elected to represent Georgia in the U.S. Senate, and during his first two years in office he passed more stand-alone bills than any other freshman senator in history – even in a divided Congress.  His legislative accomplishments include being a staunch advocate for doubling the Pell Grant, enacting laws that strengthen mental health services and public safety, creating programs to tackle the opioid epidemic, and leading investigations of unsolved lynchings and Civil Rights murders.

During Saturday’s luncheon plenary, we will hear from U. S. Senator Rafael Warnock (D-GA) through taped greetings. We are also delighted to announce that we will be joined by Under Secretary, James Kvaal, U.S. Department of Education., who is this year’s keynote speaker.

U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock

Senator Raphael Warnock
Senator Raphael Warnock

WARNOCK, Raphael Gamaliel, a Senator from Georgia; born in Savannah, Ga., July 23, 1969; graduated Sol C. Johnson High School, Savannah, Ga., 1987; B.A., psychology, Morehouse College, 1991; M.Div., M.Phil., and Ph.D., Union Theological Seminary, New York, N.Y.; Baptist pastor; elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in the January 5, 2021, special election runoff for the term ending January 3, 2023, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Johnny Isakson, a seat previously held by appointed Senator Kelly Loeffler, and took the oath of office on January 20, 2021.

James Kvaal, Under Secretary

James Kvaal, Under Secretary
James Kvaal, Under Secretary

James Kvaal was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the Under Secretary of Education on September 14, 2021. Kvaal leads the Department’s work on higher education, student financial aid, and career and adult education. He works to build an inclusive higher education system that helps all students graduate and go on to a better life. His work has led to millions of borrowers receiving student loan forgiveness, more affordable repayment plans for future students, and stronger safeguards against future unaffordable loans.

Earlier in his career, Kvaal served in the White House under President Clinton and President Obama, including more than three years as deputy domestic policy adviser to President Obama. He was the policy director on President Obama’s 2012 campaign, a co-chair of the Biden-Harris campaign’s education advisory committee, and the deputy lead of President Biden’s Department of Education transition team.

Kvaal has also served as Deputy Under Secretary at the Department of Education and as a professional staff member in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Immediately prior to joining the Biden Administration, Kvaal was president of The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS), a research and advocacy nonprofit dedicated to affordability and equity in higher education.

Kvaal taught at the University of Michigan's Ford School of Public Policy, and he graduated with honors from Stanford University and Harvard Law School.

For questions, please contact Ashley Spencer at [email protected].

At the annual NEA Higher Education Conference, NEA members from colleges and universities around the nation get together to share ideas and learn from each other.

The Higher Education Conference offers members the opportunity to submit proposals and present workshops; network with colleagues from across the country; attend sessions on professional development, organizing, racial justice, collective bargaining, and others; hear from NEA’s top officers, and participate in the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) membership meeting. 

Collegiate students in class

Let's make a difference.

The best way you can support students across your campus and advocate for a high-quality higher education is to get involved directly in your community. At NEA, we partner closely with our state and local affiliates on your campus to support you where you live and work.
National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.