Sara Goldrick-Rab, author of Paying the Price

Event date: 
Friday, September 23, 2016 - 7:00pm

If you are a young person, and you work hard enough, you can get a college degree and set yourself on the path to a good life, right?

Not necessarily, says Sara Goldrick-Rab, and with Paying the Price, she shows in damning detail exactly why. Quite simply, college is far too expensive for many people today, and the confusing mix of federal, state, institutional, and private financial aid leaves countless students without the resources they need to pay for it.

Drawing on an unprecedented study of 3,000 young adults who entered public colleges and universities in Wisconsin in 2008 with the support of federal aid and Pell Grants, Goldrick-Rab reveals the devastating effect of these shortfalls. Half the students in the study left college without a degree, while less than 20 percent finished within five years. The cause of their problems, time and again, was lack of money. Unable to afford tuition, books, and living expenses, they worked too many hours at outside jobs, dropped classes, took time off to save money, and even went without adequate food or housing. In many heartbreaking cases, they simply left school—not with a degree, but with crippling debt. Goldrick-Rab combines that shocking data with devastating stories of six individual students, whose struggles make clear the horrifying human and financial costs of our convoluted financial aid policies.

America can fix this problem. In the final section of the book, Goldrick-Rab offers a range of possible solutions, from technical improvements to the financial aid application process, to a bold, public sector–focused “first degree free” program. What’s not an option, this powerful book shows, is doing nothing, and continuing to crush the college dreams of a generation of young people.

Sara Goldrick-Rab, a former UW-Madison professor, is coeditor of Reinventing Financial Aid: Charting a New Course to College Affordability and has written on education issues for The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. She is a recipient of the Early Career Award from the American Educational Research Association. The Atlantic, Slate, and NPR have covered her work. She founded the Wisconsin HOPE Lab, the nation’s first research laboratory aimed at making college affordable, and is a noted influence on the development of both federal and state higher education policies. Dr. Goldrick-Rab is professor of higher education policy and sociology at Temple University. Follow her on Twitter @saragoldrickrab.

Event address: 
315 W. Gorham St.
Madison, WI 53703-2218
Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream Cover Image
$27.50
ISBN: 9780226404349
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: University of Chicago Press - September 13th, 2016