Sara Goldrick-Rab wins Grawemeyer Award in Education Temple University professor shows how high costs have resulted in ‘a new economics of college’

    Sara Goldrick-Rab
    Sara Goldrick-Rab

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A Temple University professor who conducted painstaking research into the modern struggle to pay for a college education in the United States has won the 2018 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Education.

    Sara Goldrick-Rab, professor in Temple University’s College of Education, published her findings in her award-winning 2016 book, “Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid and the Betrayal of the American Dream.”

     In it, Goldrick-Rab finds that U.S. students have been left behind by soaring costs combined with a financial aid system that has not kept up with demand. The result is a generation that, during a time when a college education is ever more important, is unable to get ahead because of crushing debt and unfinished degrees.

    “Goldrick-Rab asserts the blame rests with the financial aid system,” said Marion Hambrick, award director and faculty member in UofL’s College of Education and Human Development. “She argues the higher education structure—including how financial aid is calculated and awarded, how costs of attendance are calculated, and how higher education institutions are managed—needs a significant overhaul.”

    She details students’ struggles with not only tuition and books, but also lack of transportation, homelessness and food insecurity, and offers several solutions, including a public sector-focused “first degree free” program.

    “This book is intended to be a wake-up call,” writes Goldrick-Rab, who teaches higher education policy and sociology. “It brings the lives of students pursuing college degrees front and center and unveils their financial struggles.”

    All 2018 Grawemeyer Award winners will be announced this week, pending formal approval by the university’s board of trustees. The University of Louisville presents the prizes annually for outstanding works in music composition, ideas improving world order, psychology, and education, and gives a religion prize jointly with Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. The 2018 winners will present free lectures about their award-winning ideas when they visit Louisville in April to accept their $100,000 prizes.

    Janet Cappiello covers student success for the Office of Communications and Marketing. She has more than 30 years’ experience in journalism, including working for The Associated Press and magazines such as Vegetarian Times and Sustainability: The Journal of Record. She has been at UofL since 2014.