I am delighted to share the good news that Sara Goldrick-Rab won the Grawemeyer Award for her outstanding book on the spiraling cost of college. The award is presented every year by the University of Louisville for exemplary achievements in five fields of endeavor.

Her book, Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream.”

Goldrick-Rab wrote that she is donating the entire $100,000 that goes with the award to a fund she created.

She writes:

“When I heard that I would receive this year’s Grawemeyer Award for Education, I was honored. When I learned the Award came with a $100,000 prize, I was energized. The big news: I will be matching all donations to the FAST Fund at a rate of three-to-one starting today and I will continue to match your donations until I have spent down the entire $100,000 prize that comes with the award.

“I started the FAST Fund in 2016 after publishing the book Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream. The book revealed for the first time the extent to which the college financial aid system does not help most students in need. Instead, young people are often forced to drop out of college before receiving a degree, saddling them with mountains of debt but nothing to show for it. And increasingly common challenges such as homelessness and hunger are never addressed through traditional financial aid routes.

“The Faculty And Students Together (FAST) Fund cuts out the bureaucracy and puts money in the hands of teachers around the country — the people on the front line of this fight — in order to get emergency dollars to students swiftly. My research team and I have studied emergency aid like this for years, and found that often it’s a smaller amount of money given at the right time that makes the difference between a student staying in college or dropping out. This money can help make students’ immediate survival possible, while we also work to create the systemic change to solve the root causes of this problem.”

With Congress set to impose deep cuts on financial aid, Goldrick-Rab’s book is very timely. We are both insisting that everyone should be college-ready, even as states and the federal government reduce student financial aid.

Thanks to Sara G-R for her generosity and her scholarship!

And thanks to the Grawemeyer selection committee for its wise choice.