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The Cost of College

Sara Goldrick-Rab on ‘Paying the Price’ of education

Sep. 20, 2016
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According to the National Center for Education Statistics, college costs rose 25-35% between 2003-04 and 2013-14. And financial aid has not kept pace with tuition hikes, meaning that the price of college has increased dramatically over the past decade, outpacing inflation and putting dreams of a higher education out of reach for many average Americans. Author Sara Goldrick-Rab, who served as a professor of higher education policy and sociology at UW-Madison for more than 10 years, has written an important new book that uncovers the damning details behind rising college costs and the confusing maze of financial aid policies that leave many students unable to afford a higher education. 

In Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream, Goldrick-Rab follows 3,000 young people who entered public colleges and universities across the state of Wisconsin in 2008. Even with the support of financial aid and Pell Grants, the effects of this unprecedented study are devastating. Half of the students in the study left college without a degree, while only 20% had graduated within five years. For most of these students, leaving college without a degree meant dealing with crippling college debt and an uncertain future. By following the stories of six individual students as well as providing shocking data related to our nation’s convoluted financial aid policies, Paying the Price is a wake-up call for change in our higher education system and the government.

Goldrick-Rab is a national expert on higher education and financial aid policies, and her work has been covered on NPR and in The New York Times, The Atlantic and other publications. As part of her work in the state, she founded the Wisconsin HOPE Lab, the nation’s first laboratory aimed at improving outcomes in postsecondary education. She will speak at the Milwaukee Public Library’s Central Library/Centennial Hall, 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 22.

Book Happening:

Jennifer Chiaverini

6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 28

Kenosha Public Library-Northside Neighborhood Library

1500 27th Ave.

Bestselling Wisconsin writer Jennifer Chiaverini is the author of a number of works of captivating historical fiction, many set during the Civil War era and narrated by bewitching females from diverse socioeconomic and racial backgrounds. Chiaverini is also the author of the award-winning Elm Creek Quilts series and half a dozen collections of quilt patterns based on these books. In her riveting new novel, Fates and Traitors: A Novel on John Wilkes Booth, Chiaverini returns to a familiar-to-her period of American history as she brings to life the stories of four women, each distinctly important in the life of the infamous assassin John Wilkes Booth. A Notre Dame and University of Chicago graduate, Chiaverini now resides in Madison. She will visit the Kenosha Public Library-Northside Neighborhood Library in an event co-sponsored by Boswell Book Co.

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