Sara Goldrick-Rab, professor of higher education policy and sociology has been recognized for her “Best Use of a Windfall” in Philly Mag’s Best of Philly 2018 list. The windfall? The $100,000 prize money she received alongside her Grawemeyer Award this past year. The award recognizes “the impact a single idea can have on the world.” Her decision to use her Grawemeyer Award money to help the students who inspired her to write Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid and the Betrayal of the American Dream has landed her the reputation as not only a prolific researcher, but one who uses her research to affect real change.
She credits the students she worked closely with to expose the difficult truths about just how impactful the rising cost of college is on students. Namely, an alarming number of students do not have reliable food or housing sources, which directly impacts students’ ability to persist through their degree programs. With that knowledge, she donated the prize money to the Faculty and Students Together (FAST) Fund which provides emergency funds for students in need of basic necessities, such as food and housing. She also encouraged others to help match those funds to increase the amount of impact she and her team could make for students.