Do Higher Ed Accountability Proposals Narrow Opportunity for Minority Students and Minority-Serving Institutions? What New Research Tells Us.

You're invited to join Director Sara Goldrick-Rab, Dr.Robert Kelchen, and Dr. Jason Houle on a Higher Education Research and Policy Briefing for Congressional Staff, Policymakers, Advocates, Researchers & Press.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014, 9:00am to 12:00 noon
U.S. Capitol Visitors Center, Congressional Auditorium & Atrium

Students of color have not achieved equal opportunity for higher education and many of the institutions that serve them are struggling with economic and policy challenges. Some critics of the Obama Administration claim that recent accountability and financial aid policy changes would close the door to college for many deserving students. As these proposals are being discussed, we invite you to a lively forum presenting new and original empirical studies. These seven (7) research papers examine the issues with the goal of avoiding unintended negative consequences.

The Color of Student Debt: Implications of Federal Loan Program Reforms for Black Students and Historically Black Colleges and Universities

A new congressional briefing by Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab, Dr. Robert Kelchen, and Dr. Jason Houle. Read the brief. (PDF)

New Book by Director Goldrick-Rab

Reinventing Financial AidIn this provocative volume, two experts with very different points of view address the growing concern that student loan programs are not a sustainable solution to the problem of mounting college costs. They argue that the time has come to reform the financial aid system so that it is more effective in promoting college affordability, access, and completion.

Reinventing Financial Aid provides a thorough critique of the existing financial aid system and identifies the challenges of reform. It presents a host of innovations designed to improve grant and loan programs and the processes by which students access them. Pushing past current debates, it also challenges leaders to think more boldly about policy design, examine the assumptions and incentives embedded in the current system, and lay the groundwork for a fundamental rethinking of student aid programs.

While the editors agree that bold new thinking on financial aid policy is needed, they do not aim for consensus. Instead, they have leveraged their differences to flesh out important tensions, trade-offs, and areas of common ground that emerge from innovative approaches to reform. The result is a volume that serves as a counterpoint to the incremental approach to financial aid reform that has led to record tuition levels, growing student debt, and increasing doubts about the value of a college education.
View the book here

Wisconsin HOPE Lab: Harvesting Opportunities
for Postsecondary Education


Participation in Wisconsin postsecondary education is growing but students from low­‐income households, students of color, and students who are the first in their families to attend college are still being left behind. Ensuring that these students fulfill their potential requires finding new and effective ways to level the playing field, minimizing barriers to college completion by identifying replicable and sustainable interventions. The Wisconsin HOPE Lab is the nation’s first laboratory for translational research aimed at such, working to identify new problems and opportunities, develop appropriate interventions and evaluate them, and share knowledge with policymakers and practitioners in a timely manner.


On April 21st, Wisconsin HOPE Lab Founding Director Sara Goldrick-Rab was invited to hold a discussion on student retention and persistence issues in higher education with American Entrepreneur Mark Cuban. The discussion was part of the Education Innovation Summit hosted in Scottsdale, AZ.