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Whitney Barkley-Denney

Senior Policy Counsel

Whitney Barkley-Denney is legislative policy counsel, based in Durham, NC, where she works with state legislatures, attorneys general, and governors to fight predatory lending, exploitative student loan practices, and unscrupulous debt collectors.

Prior to CRL, Whitney worked on a range of election law issues as director of the Michigan Election Law Project and field director for Election Protection 2008, coordinating law students and attorneys to monitor polls for election irregularities during the 2008 presidential campaign. Whitney clerked for the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, serving in the Voter Protection Division, working to enforce the 1964 Voting Rights Act. She accepted a fellowship from Equal Justice Works/AmeriCorps to do foreclosure assistance work with the Mississippi Center for Justice, developing legal and policy expertise in foreclosure, consumer lending, and for-profit colleges. In 2013 and 2014, Whitney was appointed to the US Department of Education's Federal Rulemaking Committee on Gainful Employment and Programmatic Integrity, helping to set federal financial policy for students.

Whitney attended The College of Charleston, in Charleston (SC), and graduated from the University of Michigan Law School, being named 2009 Woman Law Student of the Year by the National Women Lawyers Association. When she's not at work, Whitney enjoys theater.


July 17, 2019 | By ANU ROY-CHAUDHURY | The American Prospect
The higher education system is broken, but instead of fixing it, the Department of Education is intent on breaking it even more. The gainful employment rule was an Obama-era regulation that...
June 13, 2019 | By Rebekah Tuchscherer | USA Today
Sallie Mae, the student loan provider once sponsored by the government, is expanding into credit cards. The company this month unveiled a suite of three credit cards aimed at college...
May 7, 2019 | By Jillian Berman | Market Watch
Over the past several years, debate has raged among policymakers at the federal level about the best way to ensure for-profit colleges provide students with a decent college education, and don’t...
April 4, 2019 | By Annie Nova | CNBC
College-sponsored bank accounts ding students with millions of dollars in fees each year, according to a report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The Education Department...