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

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 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...
Fall 2020 was an unprecedented time for colleges and universities in Colorado as the state continued to deal with the...
Entering fall 2020, colleges in Virginia grappled with the effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Individual campuses contended with how
Philadelphia-area colleges and universities were reeling from the coronavirus pandemic as they entered fall 2020. Mirroring national trends, enrollment was
Entering fall 2020, colleges and universities in Texas grappled with the effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Individual campuses contended
For decades, the shortcomings of financial aid have frustrated students and colleges alike. Flaws in the design and delivery of
Entering the fall 2020 term, higher education was reeling from the coronavirus pandemic. Enrollment was down—particularly among students most at
The pandemic is laying bare one of the most difficult challenges facing higher education: many of today’s undergraduates are pursuing
In the fall of 2019, nearly 550 instructional staff members from four community colleges and one university responded to a
Students in masks
#RealCollege During the Pandemic: Initial Institutional Responses To Address Basic Needs Insecurity The novel coronavirus pandemic is testing institutions of
Now in its fifth year, the #RealCollege survey is the nation’s largest, the longest-running annual assessment of basic needs security
Black woman with short hair wearing and mask
The COVID19 pandemic struck American higher education in March 2020. Campuses closed, students lost jobs, and emergency resources fell far

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
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.

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