The Hope Center


We conduct scientifically rigorous and practice-informed action research that explores poorly understood problems affecting #RealCollege™ students and examine the efficacy of interventions to support #RealCollege™ students. With all our publications we seek to inform, educate, stimulate and guide people who want to shift the structural conditions and mindsets holding back #RealCollege™ students.

Our current focus is on research studies that identify areas for improvement and/or evaluating existing practices aimed at addressing #RealCollege™ issues such as college affordability, improvements to the current financial aid system, and students’ basic needs. In order to do this, we establish and maintain strategic partnerships that emphasize credible findings and survey methods, pursue action-oriented, stakeholder-engaged research, and advance the field(s) of inquiry. 

The work gathered here encompasses the full range of Hope Center research work. You will find policy briefs, white papers and academic articles. We endeavor to make this a useful and easy to access library so that researchers, practitioners, policy makers and journalists can easily review the latest work we are producing.

National Reports

All #RealCollege™ national surveys conducted by The Hope Center

All Reports

All research reports published by The Hope Center

Students using laptops.
During the pandemic, colleges and their students sought out ways to address college affordability and secure their basic needs...
Many college students do their best to get a degree, but struggle to make ends meet in the process...
Before the pandemic, millions of college students eligible for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) did not access the benefit...
Roughly one-in-five college students provide primary care to at least one child while pursuing a higher education credential. Parenting students...
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) were established primarily in the post-Civil War era to meet the educational needs of...
When the pandemic devastated communities and college campuses, colleges and universities faced an emergency. For the first time in history...
For decades, complicated financial aid formulas and variable sticker prices have made it difficult for students to understand the real...
Even after decades of improvement efforts, completion rates at community colleges remain low, particularly among students who need developmental education...
In 2020, Philadelphians without a high school diploma were twice as likely as those with college degrees to have problems...
For many students, transportation presents a barrier to college completion. In 2020–21, the average commuter student could expect to spend
Entering fall 2020, the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) was grappling with the effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic...
One in five community college students experience homelessness. The College Housing Assistance Program (CHAP), operated by the Tacoma Housing Authority...
Fall 2020 was an unprecedented time for colleges and universities in Colorado as the state continued to deal with the...
Fall 2020 was an extraordinary time for colleges and universities in Hawai‘i as the state continued to deal with the...
Fall 2020 was an extraordinary time for colleges in San Diego as the city continued to deal with the effects...
Entering fall 2020, colleges in Virginia grappled with the effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Individual campuses contended with how

Journal Articles

Academic articles written by or collaborated on with staff and affiliates at The Hope Center

Lack of secure affordable housing is a substantial concern for many of today’s college students. Over the past two decades,
Most students who begin at community colleges do not finish with a degree. The net price of college commonly shifts
Bridging the Digital Divide to Engage Students in Higher Education is an Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report, sponsored by Microsoft
This essay reviews the causes and consequences of food insecurity on campus, explores reasons for the low SNAP participation rate,
Public universities are intent on increasing degree completion for many reasons. A stronger policy focus on completion and interest in
The rising price of higher education and its implications for equity and accessibility have been extensively documented, but the material
There is growing awareness that a substantial share of undergraduates are food insecure, potentially undermining investments in higher education and
While the COVID-19 pandemic affected mental health and increased food insecurity across the general population, less is known about the...
Discussions of college costs often focus on tuition and fees, but living cost allowances for room, board, and other expenses
One way in which financial aid is thought to promote college success is by minimizing the time students spend working.

Working Papers

Working Papers are pre-publication versions of academic articles, book chapters, or reviews. Working papers posted on this site are typically in progress, under submission, or in press and forthcoming elsewhere.

A college credential can expand the range of career opportunities available to young adults. However, existing barriers to enrollment...
Surveys show that many students in distress are not connected to resources that may help them and the leading reason
December 2021 Sara Goldrick-Rab, Christine Baker-Smith, Travis York, Kallie Clark, Douglas Webber, and Christel Perkins Financial shortfalls in the final
The COVID-19 pandemic's impact on higher education has been widely examined as academic disruptions, social isolation, and financial instability threaten
This study investigates whether financial grants, allocated based on need rather than major, improves odds that economically vulnerable students will...
In this paper, we explain why discussions must take into account a critical issue conspicuously absent from most public debate
This paper draws on a randomized experiment to investigate an alternative explanation related to resource constraints. Findings indicate that university
Drew M. Anderson, Katharine M. Broton, Sara Goldrick-Rab, Robert Kelchen July 2018 College financial aid is intended to improve academic
High college prices are a substantial barrier to college completion. Even after initially applying for financial aid, many students do


Books authored by staff at The Hope Center

Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream.
University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL. 2016
Goldrick-Rab, S.

 Reinventing Student Aid for the 21st Century.
Harvard Education Press, Cambridge, MA. 2014
Kelly, A. & Goldrick-Rab, S. (Editors).

Book Chapters

Chapters and sections we’ve written or collaborated on

American Higher Education in the Twenty-First Century. Social, Political, and Economic Challenges, fourth edition Sara Goldrick-Rab and M. Cook This
Reinventing Student Aid for the 21st Century. Harvard Education Press, Cambridge, MA. (2014) Andrew P. Kelly and Sara Goldrick-Rab In an effort
Handbook of the Sociology of Education in the 21st Century. (2018) David Monaghan, Tammy Kolbe, and Sara Goldrick-Rab America’s community
The papers included in this volume represent the most current research and knowledge available about student loans and repayment.
In this chapter we present evidence from a mixed-methods study of federal Pell Grant recipients which directly challenges this assumption
The Future of Affirmative Action. Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management, Washington DC. (2014) Sara Goldrick-Rab Despite decades of spending
The task force recommends ways to reduce the racial and economic stratification and create new outcomes-based funding in higher education,

Explore more at The Hope Center