I’m a scholar-activist with a 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.



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


My best professor at UW. Goldrick-Rab genuinely cares about her class and you can definitely tell. She wants you to contribute your ideas to discussion, and if you do that the class will go by quickly and you’ll learn more. Your ideas and thoughts are taken seriously as peers, and she is always available for a phone call. Always take her if you can



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


@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 #13th among 200 ranked edu-scholars, and is the top female sociologist in the rankings).

Rick Hess
American Enterprise Institute

"Sara is outstanding in her mastery of complex and often controversial subject matter, and does a wonderful job of illuminating these issues for a broad audience."

Chris Lubienski
University of Illinois- Urbana Champaign 

"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'

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

President Patricia McGuire
Trinity Washington University



Upcoming Events

  • 750b55_Calendar_128pxNational College Access Network Annual Conference--Presentation on Emergency Financial Aid

    September 21, 2016 at 8:00 am - 9:15 am CST —   Detroit, MI Detroit MI

    How to keep a Financial Emergency from Ending a Student’s College Degree Dreams

  • 750b55_Calendar_128px"Paying the Price" Book Event: Milwaukee Public Library’s Centennial Hall  

    September 22, 2016 at 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm CST —   733 N 8th St Milwaukee WI 53233 United States

    630 pm CST

  • 750b55_Calendar_128px"Paying the Price" Book Event: Room of One's Own (Madison, WI)

    September 23, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm CST —  

    Open to the public 7-830 pm CST

  • 750b55_Calendar_128pxNorthern Rocky Mountain Educational Research Association -- Keynote Speaker

    October 6, 2016 at 9:45 am - 10:45 am CST —   Reno, NV Reno NV

  • 750b55_Calendar_128px"Student Hunger, Housing Insecurity, and Unmet Financial Need: Overcoming Barriers to College Completion" -- Session at NSPA Conference

    October 10, 2016 at 2:30 pm - 3:45 pm CST —  

    Sara Goldrick-Rab and Amy Ellen Duke-Benfield

  • 750b55_Calendar_128px"Paying the Price" Book Event: Politics & Prose Book Store (Washington DC)

    October 24, 2016 at 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm CST —   5015 Connecticut Ave NW Washington, DC, United States

    7 pm EST

  • 750b55_Calendar_128px"Paying the Price" Book Event: Harvard Book Store (Cambridge, MA)

    October 26, 2016 at 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm CST —   1256 Massachusetts Ave Cambridge MA 02138 United States

    7 pm EST

  • 750b55_Calendar_128pxSUNY CON: SUNY’s 6th Annual Critical Issues in Higher Education Conference

    October 27, 2016 CST —   242 W 41st St New York NY 10036 United States

    Time TBD

  • 750b55_Calendar_128pxKeynote Lecture, New School for Social Research (NYC)

    October 27, 2016 at 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm CST —  

    530 pm EST

  • 750b55_Calendar_128px"Paying the Price" Book Event: University of Michigan

    November 2, 2016 CST —  

    Details forthcoming

  • 750b55_Calendar_128pxOpen Education Conference, Keynote Lecture

    November 4, 2016 at 7:30 am - 8:15 am CST —   Richmond VA

  • 750b55_Calendar_128pxLecture in Wisconsin Idea Seminar: "The Future of Wisconsin Public Higher Education"

    November 8, 2016 at 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm CST —   Pyle Center 702 Langdon St, Madison, WI 53706, United States

    Open to public 6 pm CST PAYING THE PRICE will be for sale

  • 750b55_Calendar_128pxAssociation for the Study of Higher Education- Annual Meetings

    November 9, 2016 - November 11, 2016 CST —   Columbus OH

    Several sessions

  • 750b55_Calendar_128px"Paying the Price" Book Event

    November 11, 2016 at 8:30 am - 9:45 am CST —   Columbus OH

    Hyatt First Floor, Hayes http://tinyurl.com/j7oeth5 Association for the Study of Higher Ed Books for sale and signing afterward

  • 750b55_Calendar_128pxAssociation of Public Land-grant Universities - Annual Meeting

    November 13, 2016 at 9:30 am - 10:45 am CST —   Austin, TX

    “Hunger on Campus: Addressing Increasing Food Insecurity for Today’s College Students."

  • 750b55_Calendar_128pxLeague for California Community Colleges--Annual Convention, Keynote Lecture

    November 17, 2016 at 6:30 pm - 7:10 pm CST —   Riverside Convention Center 3637 5th St Riverside CA 92501

  • 750b55_Calendar_128pxKeynote at SUNY-Fredonia (NY)

    December 1, 2016 CST —  

    Time TBD

  • 750b55_Calendar_128px"Paying the Price" Book Event: Seminary Co-op Bookstore, Chicago

    January 19, 2017 at 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm CST —  

    6 pm CST

  • 750b55_Calendar_128px"Paying the Price" Book Event: University of Texas-Austin (Time TBD)

    March 6, 2017 CST —  

  • 750b55_Calendar_128px"Paying the Price" Book Event: Cedar Crest College, Allentown PA

    March 24, 2017 CST —  

    "Higher Education in 2027 conference" Details forthcoming

  • 750b55_Calendar_128pxPaying the Price: Book Event at West Virginia University

    April 4, 2017 CST —  

    Keynote Address- Celebration of Scholarship/Student Research Forum

  • 750b55_Calendar_128px"Paying the Price" Book Event- University of Pittsburgh

    April 5, 2017 CST —  

Request Sara for your next event:

To request that Sara speak at your next event, please contact Jamie Brickhouse at redBrick Agency, jamiebrickhouse@redbrickagency.com