Sara Goldrick-Rab - "Paying the Price" for Higher Education

September 27, 2016 - Sara Goldrick-Rab 09/27/2016 Views: 15,812

Professor Sara Goldrick-Rab discusses the financial strain of higher education in the U.S. and offers ways to reduce college costs in her book "Paying the Price." (4:12)

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Please welcomeSara Goldrick-Rab, everybody.

-♪ -(cheering, applause)

-Welcome to the show. -Yeah,thanks very much for having me.

No, no, it is honestlya pleasure having you,

especially at this time--especially with what's happening

not just in Americabut in South Africa.

Uh, let me go in first of all

and say the bookis truly mind-blowing.

You know,you hear about the problem

that faces college studentsin America--

the debts that pile up,uh, you know,

the inaccessibilityto funding and so on.

But a book like thisthat lays out solutions,

as opposed to just problems,is really, really interesting.

-You followed 3,000 students-Mm-hmm.

for a number of years--

which some people would saymakes you a creep

-but you're not.-(laughter)

-You're not.-No.

-You're a professor.-(laughs)

Let's start...let's start with the why.

Look, I wanted to understandat a time

when college ismore expensive than ever,

and, frankly, work doesn't paylike it used to,

and families are struggling,

how do studentsget through college,

and how do they make ends meet,

and, frankly,why is it that so many of them

end up with no college degreeand in debt.

I wanted to knowwhat was going on.

And that's the reasonfor following around

-those 3,000 people, whichwe did for six years. -Yeah.

And, you know,we saw so many things happening

that led me to understand betterwhy it is,

when we thinkwe're giving money out

through the financial aidsystem,

so many people still end upwithout what they really need.

It's also scary, becauseI've always known of the debts,

I've always knownof people struggling.

What I didn't know aboutbefore I read this book was...

people strugglingwith actual food.

Like, actuallyhaving foods to eat

is a huge issuethat American students face.

Yeah, this-this broke...

I mean, studies are notsupposed to break your heart.

And this sort of did, becauseit was September of 2008,

and my research team had justcome back from another interview

with another student,and we asked students

very basic questionslike how is college going?

What's your biggest challenge?

And one young womanlooked at my...

one of my graduate studentsand she said,

"The biggest challengeis eating."

You know, the latest studythat we did,

which was in ten communitycolleges around the country.

That study found that 13%--

13% of community collegestudents were homeless.


I don't know what to say.

It's-it's literallyheartbreaking,

and it's somethingthat we absolutely

could and should prevent.

The... the situation

seems really dire.

-But as I said, you have laidout some solutions. -Mm-hmm.

There are some measuresthat could... that could be

put into play.Uh, what do you think

is the most realistic thingthat could be done?

Because you have so many in thebook, then people would say,

"Oh, that's not easyto implement overnight,

that's not something wecan achieve." What would you say

-are the first steps thatcould be taken... -Sure, sure.

to try and get more accessto education and even

food within the system?

Yeah. So here's the thing,we know how

to give people foodso they can go to school.

It's called the NationalSchool Lunch Program.

And we've had it in placefor a very long time

for schoolchildren, so we knowthat students need to have

their milk in the morning andlunch at... you know, at noon.

And we do that for elementaryand high school students.

And what we need to do is expand

the National School LunchProgram into higher education.

If you lookat the candidates right now--

I don't knowif you've had a chance--

but do you find that eitherof the candidates has... has...

-(laughter)-Why are you guys laughing?

I'm asking a very...very serious question.

(laughing):Have I had a chance?

Very serious question.

Um, between the two of them,do you find

that either of the candidateshas a viable plan

that would...that would move this forward?

Look, Hillary Clinton recognizes

that there is a tonof pain out there,

and it isn't limitedonly to low-income people.

The middle class is also beingpriced out of higher education.

And the current financial aidsystem is not helping.

-Yeah.-And so she recognizes

we have to do somethingtotally new.

It's honestly, one of the mostexciting books I've read,

because, as I said,you've got solutions.

It's a manual that I'd recommendto anyone out there--

if you're parent, if you're ateacher, if you're a student.

Paying the Price is available now.

Sara Goldrick-Rab, everybody.