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Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial…
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Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the… (edition 2017)

by Sara Goldrick-Rab (Author)

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602335,836 (3.8)2
One of the most sustained and vigorous public debates today is about the value and, crucially, the price of college. But an unspoken, outdated assumption underlies all sides of this debate: if a young person works hard enough, they'll be able to get a college degree and be on the path to a good life. That's simply not true anymore, says Sara Goldrick-Rab. 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 a 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. She believes America can fix this problem. In the final section of the book, Goldrick-Rab offers a range of possible solutions.… (more)
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Title:Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream
Authors:Sara Goldrick-Rab (Author)
Info:University of Chicago Press (2017), Edition: Reprint, 368 pages
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Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream by Sara Goldrick-Rab

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I read this because although I'm teaching at an American institution right now, I was an undergrad in a different country (one with free tuition), and felt I needed to know more about how financial aid works in the US in order to better understand my students' situation. It turns out that pretty much every teacher in higher ed, regardless of background, needs to read this book. Goldrick Rab presents a damning indictment of the convoluted current system of FAFSA, Pell Grants, work-study placements and so on, which often serve to cushion those from wealthy backgrounds and to punish those from poor backgrounds for trying to succeed. (I gasped at the cruelty of the system in Milwaukee, where a young woman who had lived her whole life with her mother in subsidised housing was told that she would be evicted for being a full-time student; part-time, fine, unemployed, okay, but full-time and therefore graduating on time with less debt? No.) Rather than blaming Entitled Millennials, Goldrick Rab points the finger squarely at a rigged system.

Far too many American students are homeless, far too many are going to class hungry, far too many are failing classes because they're so exhausted from working long hours trying to pay for those classes in the first place. For all the claims of American exceptionalism, the USA lags far behind many other countries in college graduation rates (and indeed in social mobility). There's no one solution to all of these problems, but Goldrick Rab rightly urges that colleges and the federal and state government at least start to recognise that they exist. ( )
  siriaeve | Aug 13, 2017 |
If you are at all interested in the process of financial aid in higher education, this is a useful book. I work with a lot of college students who depend on financial aid to make higher education and its resulting benefits possible. Goldrick-Rab does a good job explaining why our current system isn't working for many students, why this is so, and she presents some alternative options. I do think it could benefit from additional research into the realities of developmental first year students and the financial realities faced by rural students, but that reflects more of my own day to day reality. I appreciate the author's detailed attention to important financial issues faced by our current students. ( )
  EllsbethB | Mar 4, 2017 |
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One of the most sustained and vigorous public debates today is about the value and, crucially, the price of college. But an unspoken, outdated assumption underlies all sides of this debate: if a young person works hard enough, they'll be able to get a college degree and be on the path to a good life. That's simply not true anymore, says Sara Goldrick-Rab. 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 a 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. She believes America can fix this problem. In the final section of the book, Goldrick-Rab offers a range of possible solutions.

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