Sara Goldrick-Rab is Professor of Higher Education Policy & Sociology 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 four 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 6th 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.

Financial Disclosure: As Chief Strategy Officer for Emergency Aid at Edquity, a private company, I am a paid consultant and hold stock. The terms of this arrangement have been reviewed and approved by Temple University.

Courses Taught




EDAD 0855

Why care about College: Higher Education in American Life


EDUC 5010

Special Topics in Education: Making College Affordable


Selected Publications


  • Anderson, D.M. & Goldrick-Rab, S. (2018). Aid after enrollment: Impacts of a statewide grant program at public two-year colleges. Economics of Education Review, 67, pp. 148-157. doi: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2018.10.008

  • Kolbe, T., Kinsley, P., Feldman, R.C., & Goldrick-Rab, S. (2018). From the (Academic) middle to the top: an evaluation of the AVID/TOPS college access program. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 23(4), pp. 304-335. doi: 10.1080/10824669.2018.1530114

  • Broton, K.M. & Goldrick-Rab, S. (2018). Going Without: An Exploration of Food and Housing Insecurity Among Undergraduates. Educational Researcher, 47(2), pp. 121-133. doi: 10.3102/0013189X17741303

  • Goldrick-Rab, S. (2018). Listening to students. In Taking It to the Streets: The Role of Scholarship in Advocacy and Advocacy in Scholarship (pp. 86-91).

  • Kelchen, R., Goldrick-Rab, S., & Hosch, B. (2017). The Costs of College Attendance: Examining Variation and Consistency in Institutional Living Cost Allowances. Journal of Higher Education, 88(6), pp. 947-971. doi: 10.1080/00221546.2016.1272092

  • Valentine, J.C., Konstantopoulos, S., & Goldrick-Rab, S. (2017). What Happens to Students Placed Into Developmental Education? A Meta-Analysis of Regression Discontinuity Studies. Review of Educational Research, 87(4), pp. 806-833. doi: 10.3102/0034654317709237

  • Goldrick-Rab, S. & Mewburn, I. (2017). Interview. In The Digital Academic: Critical Perspectives on Digital Technologies in Higher Education (pp. 156-161). doi: 10.4324/9781315473611

  • Broton, K. & Goldrick-Rab, S. (2017). The dark side of college (Un)affordability: Food and housing insecurity in higher education. In College Teaching and Learning for Change: Students and Faculty Speak Out (pp. 151-163). doi: 10.4324/9781315302393

  • Broton, K.M., Goldrick-Rab, S., & Benson, J. (2016). Working for College: The Causal Impacts of Financial Grants on Undergraduate Employment. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 38(3), pp. 477-494. doi: 10.3102/0162373716638440

  • Goldrick-Rab, S., Kelchen, R., Harris, D.N., & Benson, J. (2016). Reducing income inequality in educational attainment: Experimental evidence on the impact of financial aid on college completion. American Journal of Sociology, 121(6), pp. 1762-1817. doi: 10.1086/685442

  • Broton, K. & Goldrick-Rab, S. (2016). The Dark Side of College (Un)Affordability: Food and Housing Insecurity in Higher Education. Change: the Magazine of Higher Learning, 48(1), pp. 16-25. Informa UK Limited. doi: 10.1080/00091383.2016.1121081

  • Goldrick-Rab, S. & Kelly, A.P. (2016). Should community college be free?: Education next talks with Sara Goldrick-Rab and Andrew Kelly. Education Next, 16(1), pp. 54-60.

  • Goldrick-Rab, S. & Kolbe, T. (2016). A Matter of Trust: Applying Insights From Social Psychology to Make College Affordable. Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 3(2), pp. 237-244. doi: 10.1177/2372732216656457

  • Schudde, L.T. & Goldrick-Rab, S. (2016). Extending opportunity, perpetuating privilege: Institutional stratification amid educational expansion. In M.N. Bastedo, P.G. Altbach, P.J. Gumport, & M.N. Bastedo (Eds.), American higher education in the twenty-first century: Social, political, and economic challenges, 4th ed (pp. 345-374). Baltimore, MD, US: Johns Hopkins University Press. Retrieved from

  • Kinsley, P. & Goldrick-Rab, S. (2015). Making the grade: The academic side of college life among financial aid recipients. In The Working Classes and Higher Education: Inequality of Access, Opportunity and Outcome (pp. 87-109). doi: 10.4324/9781315696096

  • Schudde, L. & Goldrick-Rab, S. (2015). On Second Chances and Stratification: How Sociologists Think About Community Colleges. Community College Review, 43(1), pp. 27-45. doi: 10.1177/0091552114553296

  • Kelchen, R. & Goldrick-Rab, S. (2015). Accelerating college knowledge: A fiscal analysis of a targeted early commitment pell grant program. Journal of Higher Education, 86(2), pp. 199-232. doi: 10.1353/jhe.2015.0007

  • Brand, J.E., Pfeffer, F.T., & Goldrick-Rab, S. (2014). The community college effect revisited: The importance of attending to heterogeneity and complex counterfactuals. Sociological Science, 1, pp. 448-465. doi: 10.15195/v1.a25

  • Goldrick-Rab, S. (2014). Creating Cultures of Affordability: Can Institutional Incentives Improve the Effectiveness of Financial Aid? In A.P. Kelly & S. Goldrick-Rab (Eds.), Reinventing Financial Aid: Charting a New Course to College Affordability. Harvard Education Press. Retrieved from

  • Goldrick-Rab, S. (2014). Creating Cultures of Affordability: Can Institutional Incentives Improve the Effectiveness of Financial Aid? In A.P. Kelly & S. Goldrick-Rab (Eds.), Reinventing Financial Aid: Charting a New Course to College Affordability. Harvard Education Press. Retrieved from

  • Sawhill, I. & Goldrick-Rab, S. (2014). Should pell grants target the college-ready? Education Next, 14(2), pp. 58-64.

  • Goldrick-Rab, S. (2014). Conditional pell dollars miss students who need them most. Education Next, 14(2).

  • Goldrick-Rab, S. (2014). Paying for the Party: How College Maintains Inequality. AMERICAN JOURNAL of SOCIOLOGY, 119(5), pp. 1474-1476. doi: 10.1086/674742

  • Goldrick-Rab, S. (2014). “Economic Diversity for Cost Containment.”. In R.D. Kahlenberg (Ed.), The future of affirmative action : new paths to higher education diversity after Fisher v. University of Texas. New York: The Century Foundation Press. Retrieved from

  • Goldrick-Rab, S. & Kelchen, R. (2014). Making sense of loan aversion: Evidence from wisconsin. In Student Loans and the Dynamics of Debt (pp. 317-378).