All posts by Sara Goldrick-Rab


Mr. President: Don’t Cave to the Higher-Education Lobby

Over all, I’m a fan of President Obama’s proposal to rate colleges and link the results to financial aid. The plan is to give students attending institutions rated high—on such measures as tuition and graduation rates, debt and earnings of graduates, and the percentage of low-income students enrolled—larger grants, as well as lower-interest loans. The proposal ends the “tinkering” that most higher-education reform has pursued; it aims squarely at the main drivers of college costs: private and fo…


The Higher-Education Lobby Comes to Madison

This month the University of Wisconsin’s Board of Regents heard from Molly Corbett Broad, president of the American Council of Education, who spoke about “Higher Education at the Crossroads: Multiple Challenges, Innovation and Learning.” Then she gave a similar talk, which I moderated, at the Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Education, this time to faculty, staff, and students.

I’m grateful to her for joining us, and I’d like to show her the respect of fully engaging wit…


Money Matters, but So Does Avoiding Red Tape

“There’s no such thing as free money,” Joanne, a middle-aged African-American mother of two sitting across the table from me declared. “But for me, getting this college degree depends on whether I have enough money to afford it.”

Solving the problem of college affordability lies at the heart of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s $3.3 million Reimagining Aid Delivery & Design project, which has spurred a series of reports covered weekly in the news this year. While the reports run the gamut of…


What Didn’t Increase College Enrollment in New York City: School Vouchers

Increasing national college-completion rates, especially among students of color, is a notoriously difficult challenge. Despite decades of research, we have identified very few cost-effective interventions.  So imagine my surprise when late last month I read an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal that called on President Obama to promote college attainment among African-Americans by opening “private-school doors for low-income students.”

Incredibly, a study by the authors had supposedly found that …