I’m a scholar-activist with a singular mission: to identify novel approaches to making higher education the accessible and affordable place that families want and need it to be. I welcome your interest in my work and look forward to hearing from you.

As I always say, “Hope is a strategy,” when it comes to making college affordable.



Research and Teaching that Matters

"One clear influence on the Obama plan is a proposal by Sara Goldrick-Rab and Nancy Kendall, professors at the University of Wisconsin. They argue that the current financial aid system is broken, which explains why “students from high-income families who enter college are now six times more likely than those from low-income families to complete bachelor’s degrees by age 25.” They instead advocate universal community college, with students freed from covering both tuition costs and living costs. Their proposal differs from Mr. Obama’s in some substantial ways, including the fact that they would redirect federal money currently being spent on financial aid at private colleges. Yet it’s also clear that White House officials devising their plan have thought about the Goldrick-Rab-Kendall plan."

David Leonhardt
The Upshot, The New York Times


"Sara Goldrick-Rab makes it a point to talk about college affordability with people all along the spectrum of political philosophy. “I have found thought partners wherever I can get them,” she says. “I want my talk to be effective; therefore I have to talk to people who don’t think like me. It is thought-provoking, it is eye-opening, it makes me a better scholar.”

Pat Schneider
The Capital Times


"Goldrick-Rab's research...could change the face of American higher education and the economic model of an entire industry, in part, because of her curiosity about making education more accessible for the poor."

"Professor Goldrick-Rab is an inspiration; she utilizes her intellect and academic abilities to analyze and study the complex issues of college affordability and completion and is then able to translate them for all audiences. Perhaps most importantly she uses her skills and compassion to motivate others to make societal change. Our country is lucky to have her."

Maggie Brubaker,
National Scholarship Providers Association

".@saragoldrickrab your fine scholarship on college affordability and your strong voice are essential, and people are paying attention!"

President Patricia McGuire
Trinity Washington University



"The research conducted by Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab and the Wisconsin HOPE Lab has been a tremendous resource in helping me better understand the challenges students face in getting a fair shot at a college education, and what steps Congress can take to address them. Dr. Goldrick-Rab’s research and testimony before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee last year inspired me to introduce legislation to help working students and she was a trusted partner in developing the Working Student Act."

Senator Tammy Baldwin
State of Wisconsin


"Smart, generous, effective. That's Sara Goldrick-Rab!"

Helen Gym
City of Philadelphia

"@saragoldrickrab I'm 4 free CC and living exp grants to take those in poverty and give them enough to focus on school rather than survival."

Mark Cuban (@mcuban)

Read more on Storify. 


"Individuals who show up prominently in the rankings—like Sarah Turner, Caroline Hoxby, Tom Bailey, Bridget Terry Long, Sara Goldrick-Rab, Sandy Baum, Richard Arum, and Susan Dynarski—have presented compelling data, offered proposals for policy and practice, penned influential books, and engaged in the messy give-and-take of struggling to improve policy and practice. They deserve to be commended for doing so."
(Sara Goldrick-Rab is ranked #10th among 200 ranked edu-scholars, and is the top female sociologist in the rankings).

Rick Hess
American Enterprise Institute

"There are two kinds of political activists: those who dedicate their time to a worthy political cause, and those who are absolutely awesome at it. One of those people who are absolutely awesome at advocating for a worthy political cause is Sara Goldrick-Rab."

Aaron Camp
The Progressive Midwesterner

"Your expertise made the Ecosystems of Support: Food and Housing Insecurity among College Students session an informative and inspirational opportunity for the Mayors’ Education Policy Advisors Network members. We are already seeing a movement of our cities discussing with local partners such as food banks, social service organizations and higher education institutions on how they can support student’s basic needs.”

Audrey Hutchinson,
National League of Cities (NLC) Institute for Youth, Education and Families

National League of Cities

"Sara Goldrick-Rab has become a trusted advisor to our state of Oregon— she's met with business people, with legislators, and even had dinner with the governor to talk about making community college tuition free.  She came across not as an outspoken activist but as a common-sense voice for getting poor and middle-class kids into college. As the Oregon Promise has rolled out, I’ve met with hundreds of the more than 10,000 kids who have arrived and community college campuses all over our state— Sara played a big role in changing their lives and I personally want to extend my gratitude for her incredible help."

Senator Mark Hass
State of Oregon

"If you ever have the chance to take a methods class with Sara Goldrick-Rab, do it. Or, follow her on Twitter. Class is always in session." Read more here.

Tressie McMillan Cottom
Assistant Professor of Sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University

"It was a great pleasure to have you visit with my first year education class at Lake State! I could tell you are an educator because you can just jump in and teach at a moment’s notice! You did a wonderful job of putting semi-complex ideas about funding policy into terms everyone understood. I thought it was great!"

Barb Light
Lake Superior State University


"It was an honor and a pleasure to meet you at the 1vyG conference at Harvard this past weekend. I wanted to thank you for the affirmation you have given me in my First-Gen identity. Your talk was my favorite. Thank you again for the amazing sense of empowerment you have imparted to me. You are truly an inspiration."

Nicholas Karavolias
Cornell University
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences 18'

"Paying the Price captures the experiences of students affected by rising college costs and an inefficient financial aid system remarkably well."

Anastasia C. Wilson

"In short, Sara's research and her writing have fundamentally changed how I do my own work in higher education. The debate around laptop bans feels petty in an educational landscape in which students are hungry and homeless. How do we even begin to have conversations about the problems of plagiarism-detection software and remote proctoring when students are missing class to pick up an extra shift at their second job to support ailing parents? Teaching is philosophy and practice, deeply contextual and idiosyncratic. Online and hybrid teaching are also contextual and idiosyncratic, except we can’t always see the students with whom we’re working. When students are struggling online, we don’t always see them struggling. Sometimes we just see nothing."

Jesse Stommel
Inside Higher Ed

Upcoming Events


  • 750b55_Calendar_128pxPaying the Price: Book Events at UT-El Paso and El Paso Community College

    February 9, 2018 —   El Paso, TX, United States

  • 750b55_Calendar_128pxPaying the Price: Book Event at Xavier University

    February 12, 2018 —   Ohio

  • 750b55_Calendar_128pxPaying the Price: Book Event at Keene State College

    February 15, 2018 —   New Hampshire, United States

  • 750b55_Calendar_128pxPanel: 1vyG Conference

    February 17, 2018 —   University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 19104, United States

  • 750b55_Calendar_128pxPresenting on College Hunger and Homelessness at DREAM Conference

    February 22, 2018 —   Nashville, TN, United States

  • 750b55_Calendar_128pxPresenting on College Hunger at the National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference

    February 26, 2018 —   Washington DC

  • 750b55_Calendar_128pxPresenting on College Homelessness at the National Alliance for Ending Homelessness conference

    March 2, 2018 —   Los Angeles, CA, United States

  • 750b55_Calendar_128pxKeynote: League for Innovation in Community Colleges Conference

    March 18, 2018 —   Washington DC

  • 750b55_Calendar_128pxKeynote: International Education and Poverty Conference

    March 22, 2018 - March 24, 2018 —   Chile

  • 750b55_Calendar_128pxKeynote: Civitas Conference

    April 4, 2018 —   Austin, TX, United States

  • 750b55_Calendar_128pxKeynote: College Hunger Event, Houston Community College

    April 5, 2018 —   Houston, TX, United States

  • 750b55_Calendar_128pxKeynote: GEAR-UP Leadership Institute

    April 6, 2018 —   Edinburg, TX, United States

  • 750b55_Calendar_128pxKeynote: Higher Learning Commission Conference

    April 8, 2018 —   Chicago, IL, United States

  • 750b55_Calendar_128pxGrawemeyer Awards Week Events

    April 9, 2018 - April 12, 2018 —   University of Louisville 2301 S 3rd St, Louisville, KY 40292, United States

  • 750b55_Calendar_128pxKeynote: California Community Colleges Summit

    April 26, 2018 —   Sacramento, CA, United States

  • 750b55_Calendar_128pxKeynote: Scholarship America Partner Summit

    May 22, 2018 —   Washington DC

  • 750b55_Calendar_128pxKeynote: 2018 Symposium on Collegiate Financial Well-Being

    June 1, 2018 —   Columbus, OH, United States

  • 750b55_Calendar_128pxKeynote: Hobson’s Summer Institute

    July 18, 2018 —   Palm Springs, CA, United States

Get In Touch With Sara!

For appointments please contact Jorgi McCarren: jorgi.mccarren@temple.edu

For speaking engagements please contact Jamie Brickhouse: jamiebrickhouse@redbrickagency.com

Email Sara directly: SGR@temple.edu