Sara Goldrick-Rab is Professor of Higher Education Policy & Sociology at Temple University, and Founder of the Wisconsin HOPE Lab, the nation’s only translational research laboratory seeking ways to make college more affordable.
Dr. Goldrick-Rab’s commitment to scholar-activism is evidenced by her broad profile of research and writing dissecting the intended and unintended consequences of the college-for-all movement in the United States. In more than a dozen experimental, longitudinal, and mixed-methods studies, she has examined the efficacy and distributional implications of financial aid policies, welfare reform, transfer practices, and a range of interventions aimed at increasing college attainment among marginalized populations. She provides extensive service to local, state, and national communities, working directly with governors and state legislators to craft policies to make college more affordable, collaborating with non-profit organizations seeking to examine the effects of their practices, and providing technical assistance to Congressional staff, think tanks, and membership organizations throughout Washington, DC.
Many professional organizations and foundations have honored Dr. Goldrick-Rab for her work. In 2013, she was invited to testify before the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, chaired by Senators Tom Harkin and Lamar Alexander. In 2014, she received the Early Career Award from the American Educational Research Association, and in 2015 she graduated from the William T. Grant Foundation’s five-year-long Faculty Scholars program. In 2016, POLITICO Magazine named her one of the top 50 people shaping American politics.
Dr. Goldrick-Rab is widely published in venues such as Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Sociology of Education, Review of Educational Research, and Teachers College Record, and co-edited a Harvard Education Press volume, Reinventing Financial Aid: Charting a New Course to College Affordability. The American Educational Research Association bestowed its 2017 award for best research article on her study of financial aid and college employment. Her latest book, Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream(University of Chicago, 2016), is an Amazon best-seller and a 2018 winner of the Grawemeyer Award, and has been featured on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, the New York Review of Books, and CSPAN’s Book TV, among other venues.
The Chronicle of Higher Education calls Dr. Goldrick-Rab “a defender of impoverished students and a scholar of their struggles,” and she is ranked 10th in the nation among education scholars according to Education Week.
Dr. Goldrick-Rab's work is funded by:
- Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation, Community Investments Program
- The William T. Grant Foundation
- The Spencer Foundation
- The National Science Foundation
- The Lumina Foundation
- The Kresge Foundation
- The Smith Richardson Foundation
Student & Advisee Highlights
Sara works with students in education and many social science disciplines.
Here are a few examples of her students’ successes!
Lauren Schudde is an Assistant Professor in Educational Administration and Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, where she is also a faculty research associate of the Population Research Center. She studies processes that contribute to socioeconomic inequalities in postsecondary degree attainment and subsequent labor market outcomes. Schudde earned her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2013.
Robert Kelchen is an assistant professor of higher education in the Department of Education Leadership, Management and Policy at Seton Hall University. His research interests include higher education finance, student financial aid, and accountability policies and has recent articles published in The Journal of Higher Education, The Journal of Education Finance, and the Journal of Student Financial Aid. His work as a methodologist for Washington Monthly magazine’s annual college rankings won an award for best data journalism from the Education Writers Association. He is frequently quoted in the media, including The Washington Post, National Public Radio, The Wall Street Journal, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Politico. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and finance from Truman State University, a master’s degree in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a PhD in educational policy studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Fabian T. Pfeffer
Fabian T. Pfeffer received his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is Research Assistant Professor at the Survey Research Center and Faculty Affiliate at the Population Studies Center of the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. His main research interests are the comparative study of social inequality and its maintenance across time and generations. His current work focuses on wealth inequality and its consequences for the next generation, the institutional context of social mobility processes and educational inequality in the United States and other industrialized countries, and the transmission of inequality across multiple generations.
Further information can be found at www.fabianpfeffer.com.
Anthony Hernandez earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees at Harvard University. He also enrolled at Harvard Business School & Harvard Kennedy School of Government. As a graduate student, he worked in the Admissions Office to recruit students from communities not traditionally represented at the academy. He is working to earn his Ph.D. at University of Wisconsin-Madison Educational Policy Studies Program. He is Project Manager for the AVID/TOPS evaluation at The Wisconsin HOPE Lab. He is also working on several projects related to housing and food insecurity in higher education. Anthony is from a working-class community in South Texas where he attended a public high school. He has spent significant time working on education reform issues in Latino communities in Los Angeles, CA, and Phoenix, AZ.
Minhtuyen (Minh) Mai
Minhtuyen (Minh) Mai earned her M.A. in Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2014. Minh is currently a research specialist at the Wisconsin HOPE Lab. She assists with the technology, social media development, and advertisement for the Lab. Her master's thesis looked at food insecurity among low-income college students. Her additional research interests focus on how students view the FAFSA via Twitter and scholarly professional development through social media. She received her B.S. at UW-Madison, triple majoring in Sociology, Southeast Asian Studies, Languages and Cultures of Asia, and a certificate in Asian American Studies. Prior to graduate school, Minh also served a year as a college coach at College Possible Milwaukee, helping students from low-income families persist in college.