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Sara Goldrick-Rab

Professor of Sociology & Medicine, Temple University
Founder, Wisconsin HOPE Lab
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About Sara

Goldrick-Rab's research focuses on students’ basic needs in higher education. Her work sparked the national #RealCollege movement and legislation to address food and housing insecurity. Goldrick-Rab is also the President and Founder of the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice in Philadelphia and the Chief Strategy Officer for Emergency Aid at Edquity, a student financial success and emergency aid company. She founded Believe in Students, a nonprofit distributing emergency aid.

In the News

Quoted by Andre Perry in "Closing Campuses doesn’t Necessarily Move Vulnerable People Out of Harm’s Way," The Hechinger Report, March 16, 2020.
Quoted by Saahil Desai in "The Real Lesson of the College Closures," The Atlantic, March 16, 2020.
Quoted by Kyle Spencer in "In College and Homeless," The New York Times, February 20, 2020.
Research discussed by Aaron Getting, in "Even at Elite Colleges Lauded for their Generosity, Some Students Take on Debt," The Hechinger Report, March 29, 2019.
Opinion: "Why Did it Take a Celebrity Scandal to Talk Absurd College Costs?," Sara Goldrick-Rab (with Abigail Seldin), The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 14, 2019.
Guest on Radio Times, February 15, 2019.
Research discussed by Deirdre Fernandes, in "State Offers Housing for Homeless College Students," The Boston Globe, February 1, 2019.
Research discussed by Jillian Berman, in "Here’s What it Would Take to Make College Tuition-Free," MarketWatch, October 21, 2018.
Opinion: "Don’t Dismiss the Value of Free-College Programs. They Do Help Low-Income Students.," Sara Goldrick-Rab (with Michelle Miller-Adams), The Chronicle of Higher Education, September 7, 2018.
Quoted by Michelle Andrews in "Some College Students Go To Class Hungry," The Washington Post, August 7, 2018.
Quoted by Michelle Andrews in "For Many College Students, Hunger ‘Makes It Hard To Focus’," NPR, July 31, 2018.
Research discussed by Amy Pollard, in "Hunger on College Campus Has Some Students Relying on Food Pantries and Donated Meals," Slate, July 31, 2018.
Research discussed by Pat Schneider, in "Wisconsin HOPE Lab Closes Doors, but Research on College Affordability Continues," The Cap Times, July 19, 2018.
Research discussed by Shalina Chatlani, in "Hungry for Change: The Mindset Shift Higher Ed Needs to Address Student Housing and Food Insecurity," Education Dive, July 18, 2018.
Research discussed by Shalina Chatlani, in "How to Boost Completion Rates," Education Dive, June 20, 2018.
Research discussed by Darla Mercado, in "Why Flunking or Dropping That College Class Will Dent Your Wallet," CNBC, June 10, 2018.
Quoted by in "Studying While Hungry, Homeless: Educators Float Solutions," Public News Service, May 14, 2018.
Quoted by Scott O’Connell in "State Survey Shows Hunger, Homelessness a Common Problem at Public Colleges,", May 11, 2018.
Quoted by Anna Helhoski in "Where College Students Can Find Emergency Money and Housing," NewsOK, May 1, 2018.
Quoted by Cameron Probert in "Tri-Cities Colleges are Seeing More Hungry Students. They're Not Alone, but They've Got a Plan," Tri-City Herald, April 22, 2018.
Quoted by Theresa Hermann in "College and Homelessness Shouldn’t Go Together," Western Herald, April 20, 2018.
Research discussed by Kathleen McKiernan, in "Hunger, Homelessness Rising among College Students," Boston Herald, April 19, 2018.
Quoted by in "Community Colleges’ Affordable Option," Herald-Tribune, April 17, 2018.
Quoted by Matt Reed in "Taking Diversity Seriously," Inside Higher Ed, April 16, 2018.
Quoted by Matthew Michaels in "College is Getting So Expensive That Students Worry about Having Enough Money to Eat," Business Insider, April 12, 2018.
Quoted by Greg Toppo in "For Students in Debt, Bitcoin on Their Minds," Inside Higher Ed, April 12, 2018.
Guest on 89.3 WFPL with Roxanne Scott, April 10, 2018.
Quoted by Shannon Najmabadi in "As College Costs Rise, Some Texas Students Go Hungry. Will Food Scholarships Help?," The Texas Tribune, April 10, 2018.
Research discussed by Sara Hoover, in "Third of College Students Go Hungry or Lack Housing, Temple Researcher Finds," WHYY, April 10, 2018.
Research discussed by Abigail Hess, in "New Study Finds That 36% of College Students Don’t Have Enough to Eat," CNBC, April 6, 2018.
Research discussed by Jamie Johnson, in "This Hidden Hunger Problem Affects 36 Percent of College Students," The Student Loan Report, April 6, 2018.
Research discussed by Amy Rock, in "Survey: Hunger among College Students on the Rise," Campus Safety Magazine, April 5, 2018.
Research discussed by Elly Belle, in "A Third of College Students Face Food and Housing Insecurity," Teen Vogue, April 5, 2018.
Research discussed by Jeremy Bauer-Wolf, in "Still Hungry," Inside Higher Ed, April 4, 2018.
Research discussed by Ewan Palmer, in "Are Students Starving? Study Finds Widespread Hunger in U.S. Colleges," Newsweek, April 4, 2018.
Research discussed by Lindsay Ellis, in "College Students Nationwide Fight Food Insecurity, Homelessness, New Report Finds," Chron, April 4, 2018.
Quoted by Caitlin Dewey in "The Hidden Crisis on College Campuses: Many Students Don’t Have Enough to Eat," The Washington Post, April 3, 2018.
Research discussed by Lani Seelinger, in "College Students are Going Hungry — And Researchers Believe It's a Growing Problem," Bustle, April 3, 2018.
Quoted by Felicia Mello in "California Campuses Confront a Growing Challenge: Homeless Students," CALmatters, April 3, 2018.
Research discussed by Vanessa Romo, in "Hunger and Homelessness are Widespread among College Students, Study Finds," NPR, April 3, 2018.
Quoted by Kevyn Burger in "More Students in Minnesota Colleges Struggle to Get Enough to Eat," Star Tribune, March 28, 2018.
Quoted by Matt Reed in "Live from the League, Day 2," Inside Higher Ed, March 20, 2018.
Opinion: "Should College Education be Free? Yes: Such an Investment Pays off in Growth and Innovation," Sara Goldrick-Rab, The Wall Street Journal, March 20, 2018.
Quoted by Daphne Hernandez in "Food Scholarships Could Help More Students Finish College," The Conversation, March 5, 2018.
Quoted by Jeffery J. Selingo in " How Much is Too Much to Pay for College?," The Washington Post, February 24, 2018.
Quoted by Sydney Johnson in "Without Addressing Basic Needs, Student Success Strategies Fall Short," EdSurge, February 23, 2018.
Quoted by Rachel Frommer in "Diversity Advocates Disappointed after Harvard Names Another White Male as President," The Washington Free Beacon, February 13, 2018.
Quoted by Amanda Haggard in "Study Finds College Students Going Hungry, Homeless," Roots Radio, February 13, 2018.
Quoted by in "Feeding Hungry Students Should be as Simple as Skipping on Outtakes," The Huntington News, February 7, 2018.
Quoted by Sara Goldrick-Rab in "The High Cost of Higher Education," Shepherd Express, February 6, 2018.
Quoted by Katie Pickrell in "More College Students Risk Hunger," The American Prospect, January 31, 2018.
Quoted by Matt Reed in "Dispatches from a Student Basic Needs Conference," Inside Higher Education, January 30, 2018.
Quoted by Morgan Zalot in "Temple to Open Food Pantry to Serve University Community," Temple University, January 29, 2018.
Quoted by Mary Churchill in "At the Intersection of Success and Poverty," Inside Higher Ed, January 25, 2018.
Quoted by in "Hungry for Solutions: New Research Tackles College Hunger," HealthNewsDigest, January 22, 2018.
Quoted by Jeremy House in "Food Insecurity Remains a Barrier for Students on Campus," Education Dive, January 19, 2018.
Quoted by Alyssa Biederman in "Grants Made Available to Students in Need," Temple News, January 16, 2018.
Quoted by in "From California to South Africa, Students are Going Hungry," SINews, January 15, 2018.
Research discussed by Ramsey Touchberry, in "Up to 14% of Community College Students are Homeless, New Study Says," USA Today, June 30, 2017.
Research discussed by Susan Snyder, in "Homelessness and Hunger a Fact at Community Colleges, Study Finds," The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 15, 2017.
Research discussed by Madeleine Neal, in "Student Debt in Crisis, Says Professor," Daily Iowan, February 14, 2017.
Research discussed by Jeff Charis-Carlson, in "Focus of College Affordability Fight Shifts from Feds to States, Cities," Des Moines Register, February 10, 2017.
Interviewed in "Sara Goldrick-Rab on Moving Forward with College Affordability," Little Village Magazine, February 9, 2017.
Guest on WXPR Public Radio, February 8, 2017.
Research discussed by David Sarasohn, in "The Impossible Price of Going to College," New Republic, January 17, 2017.
Quoted by John Morgan in "Trump Could Act on For-Profits, Loans, Campus Sex Assault Claims," Times Higher Education, November 12, 2016.
Interviewed in "College Students Going Hungry? Sara Goldrick-Rab Shares This and Other Campus Realities," Wharton Business Radio, October 20, 2016.
Interviewed in "Q&A: It’s Not the Cost of College-- It’s the Price," The American Prospect, October 20, 2016.
Quoted by Liz Brody in "How to Pay for College Without Selling Your Eggs (or God Knows What)," Glamour, October 18, 2016.
Quoted by Avory Brookins in "Report Shows UW-Madison Spent $23.6M on Retention Efforts in 2015-16," Wisconsin Public Radio, October 18, 2016.
Research discussed by Rana Foroohar, in "How the Financing of Colleges May Lead to Disaster!," The New York Review, October 13, 2016.
Interviewed in "Talking Student Loans with Sara Goldrick-Rab," Pacific Standard, October 10, 2016.
Guest on Wisconsin Public Radio, September 27, 2016.
Guest on The Daily Show, September 27, 2016.
Guest on National Public Radio, September 17, 2016.
Research discussed by "Paying the Price," Kirkus, August 22, 2016.
Opinion: "Less Paperwork, More College," Sara Goldrick-Rab, The Hill, July 19, 2016.
Research discussed by Karen Herzog, in "New Fed Legislation to Help Pell Recipients Rooted in UW-Madison Research," Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, July 15, 2016.
Quoted by Danielle Douglas-Gabriel in "Not Everyone Agrees on Hillary Clinton’s Big, Bold Plan for College Affordability," The Washington Post, July 6, 2016.
Research discussed by Casey Quinlan, in "How Unnecessary Paperwork Leaves Homeless College Students Behind," Think Progress, June 6, 2016.
Opinion: "This is #RealCollege: Some Students Struggle to Pay for Food, Housing," Sara Goldrick-Rab, The Washington Post, May 10, 2016.
Research discussed by Eric Schulzke, in "The Real Cost of College is Confusing and Hidden, New Study Says," Deseret News, April 11, 2016.
Opinion: "1 Trillion Reasons Why We Must Slash the Price of College," Sara Goldrick-Rab, Crain's Chicago Business, March 26, 2016.
Opinion: "Here’s Another Reason Why Many Community College Students Do Not Get Their Degree," Sara Goldrick-Rab (with Daniel Eisenberg), The Conversation, March 14, 2016.
Opinion: "In the Darkness, Unassisted," Sara Goldrick-Rab (with Daniel Eisenberg), The Hill, March 7, 2016.
Opinion: "Lenders Shouldn’t Pick Which Students Get an Education," Sara Goldrick-Rab, The Wall Street Journal, February 28, 2016.
Quoted by Emily Hamer in "Experts Weigh In on Wisconsin’s Lack of Support for Higher Education," Badger Herald, February 8, 2016.
Guest on Wisconsin Public Radio, January 29, 2016.
Guest on Milwaukee National Public Radio, January 20, 2016.
Opinion: "Public Higher Education Should be Universal and Free," Sara Goldrick-Rab, New York Times, January 20, 2016.
Research discussed by Laura McKenna, in "The Hidden Hunger on College Campuses," The Atlantic, January 14, 2016.
Opinion: "Why FAFSA Simplification is a Joke," Sara Goldrick-Rab, Medium, January 1, 2016.
Opinion: "Hungry, Homeless and in College," Sara Goldrick-Rab (with Katharine Broton), New York Times, December 4, 2015.
Opinion: "Make College Free," Sara Goldrick-Rab, Brookings Institution, October 16, 2015.
Opinion: "To Cut Costs, College Students are Buying Less Food and Even Going Hungry," Sara Goldrick-Rab (with Katharine Broton), The Conversation, September 25, 2015.
Interviewed in "What’s the Best Way to Make College More Affordable?," Wall Street Journal, September 15, 2015.
Guest on National Public Radio, September 12, 2015.
Quoted by Casey Quinlan in "For Profit Colleges, Students of Color, and the Debt Crisis No One Really Talks About," Think Progress, August 31, 2015.
Quoted by Lisa Rapaport in "Among Young Blacks, Higher Student Loan Debt Tied to Less Sleep," Reuters, August 27, 2015.
Quoted by Pat Schneider in "UW's Hope Lab: Low-income College Students Need Free Lunch Too," The Cap Times, August 6, 2015.
Quoted by Nicholas Tampio in "There is No Such Thing as Free Community College," Al Jazeera America, August 3, 2015.
Quoted by Rebecca Schuman in "'We Don’t Want Students 2 Waste Their $'," Slate, July 22, 2015.
Quoted by David Hookstead in "Univ. of Wisconsin Professor says Hitler, Scott Walker Share ‘Terrifying’ Similarities," The College Fix, July 13, 2015.
Quoted by Matt Read in "Green Shoots," Inside Higher Ed, July 5, 2015.
Quoted by Kimberly Hefling in "Scott Walker’s Latest Target: College Professors," Politico, June 18, 2015.
Quoted by Pat Schneider in "Tenure Changes Would Signal It's Time to Leave UW-Madison," Cap Times, June 2, 2015.
Quoted by Colleen Flaherty in "Tenure under Attack," Slate, June 1, 2015.
Quoted by in "Underestimating the True Cost of College," U.S. News and World Report, June 1, 2015.
Opinion: "Restoring Hope to Baltimore Requires Making College Affordable," Sara Goldrick-Rab, Talk Poverty Blog, May 7, 2015.
Quoted by Tara García Mathewson in "Is Free Community College the Next Frontier of K-12 Expansion?," Education Dive, April 22, 2015.
Quoted by Eric Schulzke in "A Guide for Guidance Counselors: How to Help High School Students Find the Right College," Deseret News National, April 20, 2015.
Opinion: "What Psychology Tells Us about Student Achievement - and How It is Ignored," Sara Goldrick-Rab (with Geoffrey L. Cohen ), The Washington Post, April 19, 2015.
Quoted by Karen Herzog in "Raising Nonresident Tuition Could Backfire, 2 UW Experts Say," Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, April 9, 2015.
Opinion: "What Your College Isn’t Telling You about Costs," Sara Goldrick-Rab (with Robert Kelchen), Time, April 2, 2015.
Guest on American Radio Works, April 1, 2015.
Opinion: "Techno Fantasies," Sara Goldrick-Rab (with Audrey Watters), Inside Higher Ed, March 26, 2015.
Opinion: "Industry and Government Need to Do More to Train Workers," Sara Goldrick-Rab, New York Times, March 19, 2015.
Opinion: "University of Wisconsin System Needs Accountability for Everyone," Sara Goldrick-Rab (with Chad Alan Goldberg), Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, March 16, 2015.
Quoted by Beckie Supiano in "What a Promise of Financial Aid Might Mean to a Middle Schooler," Chronicle of Higher Education, March 5, 2015.
Quoted by Tara Golshan, Polo Rocha, Alex Arriaga and Emily Neinfeldt in "What Does the Public Authority Mean for UW System?," Badger Herald, February 23, 2015.
Opinion: "Teachers’ Union: We Have Seen Free Community College Succeed," Sara Goldrick-Rab (with Randi Weingarten), The Washington Post, February 2, 2015.
Quoted by Chris Rickert in "Extending Welfare to the Well-Off Community College Student," Wisconsin State Journal, January 14, 2015.
Opinion: "Free Community College Isn't a Joke for Families Who Spend Half Their Income to Send a Child," Sara Goldrick-Rab, The Guardian, January 12, 2015.
Opinion: "But What if the Shared Vision is Myopic?," Sara Goldrick-Rab (with Dan Ryan), Chronicle of Higher Education, January 12, 2015.
Research discussed by Katherine Mangan and Beckie Supiano, in "The Players Who Influenced Obama’s Free-College Plan," Chronicle of Higher Education, January 11, 2015.
Quoted by Pat Schneider in "UW's Sara Goldrick-Rab Says Obama's Free Community College Plan is 'Smart and Bold'," Cap Times, January 11, 2015.
Quoted by David Leonhardt in "Obama’s Community-College Plan: A Reading List," New York Times, January 9, 2015.
Guest on National Public Radio, January 9, 2015.
Research discussed by Danielle Douglas-Gabriel , in "There’s a Big Catch in Obama’s Plan for Free Community College," The Washington Post, January 9, 2015.
Quoted by Karen Weise in "How Obama Retooled a Republican Education Idea along Democratic Lines," Bloomberg, January 9, 2015.
Opinion: "Administrators, Authority, and Accountability," Sara Goldrick-Rab (with Dan Ryan), Chronicle of Higher Education, January 6, 2015.
Opinion: "On Scholarly Activism," Sara Goldrick-Rab, Contexts, December 4, 2014.
Quoted by Emily Gerber in "Campus Food Pantry Caters to 'Invisible' Student Population," The Daily Cardinal, November 24, 2014.
Research discussed by Shelley Wiseman, in "The Community College Effect Revisited: Different Impact for Different Students," Imperial Valley News, November 16, 2014.
Research discussed by Lauren Thill, in "UW Study Sheds Light on Low-Income Student Issues," Badger Herald, November 13, 2014.
Research discussed by Pat Schneider, in "Colleges Lack Systems to Assist Low-Income Students with Housing, Food," Cap Times, November 10, 2014.
Research discussed by Pat Schneider, in "Degrees of Risk: UW-Madison's Sara Goldrick-Rab Says College is a Financial Gamble for Too Many ," Cap Times, October 29, 2014.
Research discussed by Natalie Kitroeff, in "It's Hardest for Black Students to Get the Financial Benefits of College," Businessweek, September 2, 2014.
Quoted by Ned Resnikoff in "Starbucks Free Tuition Plan Comes at a Cost," MSNBC, June 17, 2014.
Research discussed by Beckie Supiano and Kelly Field, in "Paying for College: Experts Gather in Search of New Models," Chronicle of Higher Education, June 11, 2014.
Research discussed by Beckie Supiano, in "Raising the Pell Grant's Profile," Chronicle of Higher Education, August 8, 2012.


"Hungry and Homeless in College: Results from a National Study of Basic Needs Insecurity in Higher Education," (with Sara Goldrick-Rab and Jed Richardson), Wisconsin HOPE Lab, March 2017.

Assesses food and housing insecurity among community college students. Bases results of a survey of more than 33,000 students at 70 community colleges in 24 states--the broadest survey of its kind--that describes the extent to which students are adversely affected by unmet basic needs while pursuing higher education

"Still Hungry and Homeless in College," (with Sara Goldrick-Rab, Schneider J. Richardson, and C. Cady), Wisconsin HOPE Lab, 2018.

Finds 36% of university students reported being food insecure in the 30 days preceding the survey compared with 42% of community college students. Shows similarly, 36% of university students reported being housing insecure in the last year compared with 51% of community college students. Homelessness was 9% versus 12%.  Contends these findings indicate unmet basic needs disproportionately affect marginalized students who often work long hours in addition to academic workloads.

"Coming Up Short: Basic Needs Insecurity on the College Campus" (with Sara Goldrick-Rab and J. Richardson), in The Structure of Schooling, edited by Richard Arum, Irenee R. Beattie and Kelly Ford (SAGE Publications, Inc, 2020), Chapter 27.

Discusses exploration of Basic Needs Insecurity on the College Campus.

"Working for College: The Causal Impacts of Financial Grants on Undergraduate Employment " (with Katharine Broton and James Benson ). Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 38, no. 3 (2016): 477-494.
"The Dark Side of College (Un)Affordability: Food and Housing Insecurity in Higher Education" (with Katharine Broton). Change 48, no. 1 (2016): 16-25.

Discusses strategic efforts of college leaders to support students from low-income families who are unable to pay their college costs without experiencing material hardship.

"Investing in Student Completion: Overcoming Financial Barriers to Retention Through Small-Dollar Grants and Emergency-Aid Programs," (with Karole Dachelet), Wisconsin HOPE Lab Report for Scholarship America, 2015.

Explores emergency aid program administrative practices at colleges and universities across the country. Identifies commonly used eligibility and fund disbursement practices and provide recommendations for strengthening program processes.

Reinventing Financial Aid: Charting a New Course to College Affordability (edited with Andrew P. Kelly) (Harvard Education Press, 2014).
Addresses the growing concern that student loan programs are not a sustainable solution to the problem of mounting college costs, and argues that the time has come to reform the financial aid system so that it is more effective in promoting college affordability, access, and completion.
"Redefining College Affordability: Securing America’s Future with a Free Two Year College Option," (with Nancy Kendall), Lumina Foundation, 2014.
Outlines a Free Two Year College Option (F2CO) that can be funded by partnerships between states and the federal government with existing resources, developed to overcome the problems in previous efforts to make college more affordable, and designed to ensure that wider access occurs without reductions in educational quality.
"Transforming America’s Community Colleges: A Federal Policy Proposal to Expand Opportunity and Promote Economic Prosperity," (with Douglas N. Harris, Gregory Kienzl, and Christopher Mazzeo), Brookings Institution, April 30, 2009.
Provides a blueprint for a long-overdue investment in improving community colleges and access; establish national goals and a related performance measurement system; provide resources to drive college performance toward those goals; stimulate greater innovation in community college policies and practices to enhance the quality of subbaccalaureate education; and support data systems to track student and institutional progress and performance.