Paying The Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, And The Betrayal Of The American Dream

Hardcover | September 13, 2016

bySara Goldrick-rab

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If you are a young person, and you work hard enough, you can get a college degree and set yourself on the path to a good life, right?
 
Not necessarily, says Sara Goldrick-Rab, and with Paying the Price, she shows in damning detail exactly why. Quite simply, college is far too expensive for many people today, and the confusing mix of federal, state, institutional, and private financial aid leaves countless students without the resources they need to pay for it.
 
Drawing on an unprecedented study of 3,000 young adults who entered public colleges and universities in Wisconsin in 2008 with the support of federal aid and Pell Grants, Goldrick-Rab reveals the devastating effect of these shortfalls. Half the students in the study left college without a degree, while less than 20 percent finished within five years. The cause of their problems, time and again, was lack of money. Unable to afford tuition, books, and living expenses, they worked too many hours at outside jobs, dropped classes, took time off to save money, and even went without adequate food or housing. In many heartbreaking cases, they simply left school—not with a degree, but with crippling debt. Goldrick-Rab combines that shocking data with devastating stories of six individual students, whose struggles make clear the horrifying human and financial costs of our convoluted financial aid policies.
 
America can fix this problem. In the final section of the book, Goldrick-Rab offers a range of possible solutions, from technical improvements to the financial aid application process, to a bold, public sector–focused “first degree free” program. What’s not an option, this powerful book shows, is doing nothing, and continuing to crush the college dreams of a generation of young people.

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If you are a young person, and you work hard enough, you can get a college degree and set yourself on the path to a good life, right?   Not necessarily, says Sara Goldrick-Rab, and with Paying the Price, she shows in damning detail exactly why. Quite simply, college is far too expensive for many people today, and the confusing mix of f...

Sara Goldrick-Rab is coeditor of Reinventing Financial Aid: Charting a New Course to College Affordability and has written on education issues for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. She is a recipient of the Early Career Award from the American Educational Research Association and the Atlantic, Slate,...

other books by Sara Goldrick-rab

Format:HardcoverDimensions:368 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.2 inPublished:September 13, 2016Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022640434X

ISBN - 13:9780226404349

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Introduction
1          Possible Lives
2          The Cost and Price of a College Education
3          Who Gets Pell?
4          Making Ends Meet
5          On Their Own
6          Family Matters
7          Making the Grade
8          City of Broken Dreams
9          Getting to Graduation
10        Making College Affordable
Acknowledgments
Appendix 1. Wisconsin Scholars Longitudinal Study: Methodology
Peter Kinsley and Sara Goldrick-Rab
Appendix 2. Overview of Wisconsin Higher Education
Drew M. Anderson and Sara Goldrick-Rab
Notes
References
Index
 

Editorial Reviews

"Goldrick-Rab's narrative puts a face to the national higher education cost crisis. The students she profiles through her research represent thousands of individuals who pursue a degree in pursuit of social mobility and the American Dream, only to find themselves unable to make ends meet and often drowning in debt. By personalizing our country’s failed higher education policies, this book takes readers beyond national headlines and statistics and into individual lives. Goldrick-Rab's scholarship fills a critical void in our conversations about the realities of financial aid policy in the face of rapidly rising tuition and important poignant reminder of the ongoing negative impact of state appropriation reductions in this era."