Conference Presentations

Paying the Price

College Affordability and the Impact on Students: Why, How, and What Now
Delivered July 14, 2019
Presented by Sara Goldrick-Rab

Financial stability is critical to success in college. The new economics of college create conditions of poverty for many students. It’s an outdated assumption that if a young person works hard enough, they’ll be able to get a college degree and be on the path to a good life. That’s simply not true anymore.

Points of entry to higher education are increasingly out of reach. Increased enrollment of lower- and moderate-income students coupled with inadequate employment opportunities and high college prices mean that making ends meet while attending college can be very difficult. In fact, a growing body of evidence suggests that a previously unnoticed challenge has emerged: basic needs insecurity. Goldrick-Rab’s seminal research provides a better understanding of the complexity and the urgency of the crisis that many students face. She communicates a transformational vision for higher education in America that stresses affordability and access for all, especially lower- to middle-income students and first-generation college students.

Sara Goldrick-Rab is best known for her innovative research on food and housing insecurity in higher education, having led the three largest national studies on the subject, and for her work on making public higher education free. She is the recipient of the William T. Grant Foundation’s Faculty Scholars Award and the American Educational Research Association’s Early Career Award, and in 2016 POLITICO magazine named her one of the top 50 people shaping American politics. Her latest book, Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream (University of Chicago, 2016), is an Amazon best-seller and a 2018 winner of the Grawemeyer Award, and has been featured on The Daily Show With Trevor Noah. The Chronicle of Higher Education calls her “a defender of impoverished students and a scholar of their struggles,” she is ranked 6th in the nation among education scholars according to Education Week, and in April 2018 the Carnegie Corporation awarded her the Carnegie Fellowship.