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Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab

Founding Director of the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice in Philadelphia, Chief Strategy Officer for Emergency Aid at Edquity, Founder of Believe in Students, and Professor of Sociology & Medicine, Temple University
Sara Goldrick-Rab

We built a system of second chances in higher ed. We then systematically defunded it and now we need it more than ever. It's time to embrace it. We need a Marshall Plan for higher ed that that really solidifies our support of our public regional comprehensive universities and our community colleges. That should help with economic inequality, not just for today's students, but for the people who could be students.

Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab

Key Interview Takeaways

We have choices to make. What we have done is we have prioritized choices and the privilege of private institutions over real accessibility and real affordability for public institutions. Just because towns have become dependent on that system should not be a reason that we continue to make this mistake.

Inequality and whiteness have pervaded the academy forever. We've been talking more in recent years about whether it's possible that higher education generates at least as much inequality as it ameliorates. What's happening now is people who have been speaking about this are being heard a little more but we shouldn’t assume that means they're going to be actually listened to, which means we need to be acting on what we hear. I worry tremendously that, particularly with the Black Lives Matter movement, part of this is going to just wash over and somebody will hire another Chief Diversity Officer and think they're done.


Sara Goldrick-Rab is Professor of Sociology & Medicine at Temple University, and Founding Director of the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice in Philadelphia. She is also the Chief Strategy Officer for Emergency Aid at Edquity, a student financial success and emergency aid company, and founded Believe in Students, a nonprofit distributing emergency aid.

Sara is best known for her innovative research on food and housing insecurity in higher education, having led the five 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, the American Educational Research Association’s Early Career Award, and the Carnegie Fellowship. In 2016, POLITICO magazine named her one of the top 50 people shaping American politics and she is ranked 7th in the nation among education scholars according to Education Week. Her latest book, Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream, won the 2018 Grawemeyer Award, and was featured on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. The Chronicle of Higher Education calls Sara, “a defender of impoverished students and a scholar of their struggles,” an accurate description of her life’s work.