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Sara Goldrick-Rab

Sara Goldrick-RabIndependent Scholar

areas of expertise
  • Higher education
  • Inequality
  • Public policy
  • Poverty
  • Community colleges
  • PhD, Sociology, University of Pennsylvania
  • MA, Sociology, University of Pennsylvania
  • BA, Sociology, George Washington University

Sara Goldrick-Rab is author of the award-winning book Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream, which documents the failures of policymakers and higher education institutions to make college affordable. Paying the Price was featured on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and won the $100,000 Grawemeyer prize, which Sara distributed to students around the country. Her innovative research on college students’ basic needs sparked the internationally-known #RealCollege movement, leading to federal and state legislation to address food and housing insecurity, including in California. To further support students, she also founded The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice, and a national nonprofit called Believe in Students.

In 2016, POLITICO magazine named Sara one of the top 50 people shaping American politics. She earned a Carnegie Fellowship, a William T. Grant Foundation Faculty Scholars Award, the American Educational Research Association’s Early Career Award, and in 2021 she was named a Monumental Alumna by George Washington University. Sara earned tenure and from 2004 – 2022 she held full professorships at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Temple University. Today she partners with colleges, nonprofits, government agencies, and companies to advance the #RealCollege movement and an evidence-based understanding of what education beyond high school now requires.

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