At Inversant, we were fortunate to have Professor Sara Goldrick- Rab as our first guest to our new podcast project. Sara is an activist scholar working to identify novel approaches to making higher education accessible and affordable. She was instrumental in advising Obama’s administration on effective ways to make community college free. She has recently published a provocative book “Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream”, which I highly recommend for anybody interested in understanding the challenges students face in getting a fair shot at a college education.
Sara and I discussed how college pricing works, why college is so expensive, how financial aid is administered, and how our higher education system has serious systemic problems preventing it from being an engine of social mobility and economic growth. This has far reaching implications, and as Sara put it: “this is not only an educational and an economic issue, it’s a family issue, it’s a social issue.”
Some quotes from our conversation:
“The American public has very unfortunately bought into the narrative that the more something costs in college, the better it is.”
“I find it amazing that in 2016, somebody would say out loud, at a public university, ‘we are underpriced because we don’t charge as much as others and that doesn’t look good, we need to raise it.’”
“They are so entitled! They’ve been at it so long, the American Council on education is so good, that what it does, that they’re never going to be able to scaffold in that kind of accountability. This is one reason why I vote for blowing the thing up!”
You can also find the full transcript here