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Author, professor speaks to SBCC about college economic crisis

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Author, professor speaks to SBCC about college economic crisis

Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab speaks to Santa Barbara City College students about student wellness and financial stability on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. Goldrick-Rab shared excerpts from her new book, “Paying the Price.”

Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab speaks to Santa Barbara City College students about student wellness and financial stability on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. Goldrick-Rab shared excerpts from her new book, “Paying the Price.”

Luke Madenwald

Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab speaks to Santa Barbara City College students about student wellness and financial stability on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. Goldrick-Rab shared excerpts from her new book, “Paying the Price.”

Luke Madenwald

Luke Madenwald

Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab speaks to Santa Barbara City College students about student wellness and financial stability on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. Goldrick-Rab shared excerpts from her new book, “Paying the Price.”

Celina Jauregui, Staff Writer

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Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab, Temple University professor and author of “Paying the Price,” spoke to City College Wednesday about her new book and the economic crisis in American colleges.

Goldrick-Rab began her talk by explaining how college students today nationwide who struggle with basic needs such as homelessness, food insecurity, and high student performance standards are typically assumed to be “lazy and self centered,” but are most likely in need of the most support.

“The neat thing about millennials is that they want to do good in the world,” said Goldrick-Rab, recognizing the drive in college students that many stereotypes work against.

Goldrick-Rab began her career at University of Pennsylvania in 2004, and has since pursued a position in higher policy at Temple University. She commits her Monday’s and Tuesday’s to the two classes she teaches, Why Care About College, an undergrad class as well as a post grad seminar, Making College Affordable.

In an introduction by City College Professor Adam Green, advisor of the SBCC Student Sustainability Coalition who hosted the event, he described Goldrick-Rab as someone whose ideas became policy, made change and progress, and turned data into change.

Many students in the lower and middle class feel confined to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), or what she refers to as “a small American bureaucratic tragedy.” FAFSA fails to address major housing elements but demands students provide expected family contributions (EFC) with the assumption that the family will take care of the student financially.

In 2013 Dr. Goldrick-Rab founded the Wisconsin HOPE Lab, which more recently evolved to the Hope Center for College, Community and Justice, and aims to document modern academic challenges and advocate for institutional progress based on data.

A year long 2016 survey took a look at over 33,000 students at 70 colleges in 24 states. The survey found that 56 percent of students in the survey identify as food insecure and 51 percent as housing insecure.

Through projects like #RealCollege, which surveys students’ financial well being and academic outcomes, Goldrick-Rab said she plans to continue collecting data and releasing new statististics in spring 2019.

Betty Zamora, a UCSB Swipe Out Hunger student representative, asked Goldrick-Rab how she thinks financial education plays into academic success.

Goldrick-Rab highlighted poverty as the root issue in the new economics of college, which frames the backdrop for food insecurity. Between inflation and part time hours among students being so competitive in the workplace, institutions have not properly funded the resources intended for students in college communities to obtain the financial help they need.

“We’ve always underfunded the programs that need it the most,” Goldrick-Rab said acknowledging the evolution of programs like SNAP, cash assistance, the PELL grant, and food stamps. However restrictions and qualifications have since been implemented in programs that limit accessibility.”

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3 Comments

3 Responses to “Author, professor speaks to SBCC about college economic crisis”

  1. Legion on December 6th, 2018 1:23 pm

    What happened to the noble institution of working your way through college, particularly in the food service industry where meals are provided; working as an au pair which includes both room and board, and not intentionally choosing a college in a high priced area. Tuition is already waived for low-income students in all California community colleges, so not sure any of these arguments serve more than one more attempt to scold to the public in order to keep pouring more money into an already well funded institution with very well compensated employees. Can something other than the predictable leftist agenda be presented for discussion to the SBCC community?

  2. Richard Feilden on December 6th, 2018 7:00 pm

    Legion, you are ignoring a great many aspects here. You have, at a stroke, dismissed from the argument all students whose homes and families are in Santa Barbara – they aren’t ‘choosing a college in a high priced area’. Remember, many of our incoming students are making their way to the college through the Promise program. Food service work does not provide three meals a day – remember that many employers make sure that their employees do not qualify for full time benefits, and don’t allow employees to just wander in at any time for a meal. Also remember that food service positions don’t generally provide sufficient wages to support a single person in SB, let alone someone supporting a family.

    When our students need to work long hours to keep a roof over their head, or food on their table, their ability to perform academically falls. Raising awareness about this is not a ‘left wing’ specific thing. Facts are facts. Here’s one for you – none of our students could be an au pair – you need to come from outside the country you work in to be classified as such. In America, such an employee is often required to work full time.

  3. Legion on December 7th, 2018 12:11 pm

    Richard, Be sure to get your picture of crushing local poverty out to those still wanting to some here “for a better life”.

    A live-in home attendant that supplies room and board in exchange for light household duties is not limited only to special visa international applicants. You intentionally err. Do you notice the pattern of always finding excuses and not solutions?

    Grit and personal responsibility will serve you far better in the long run, than declaring oneself to be a victim of failed government bailouts. Between state benefits SBCC Foundation largesse, and a plethora of part time employment options, local students are well-served in this community.

    And yes, a community college is primarily designed to serve those who already live in that local community. The state wide system offers multiple options where one can live, work and study in far lower cost locations and still get the same fine two year lower-division or vocational training education if these current local costs are not viable.

    I sense this out of state speaker did very little homework about the California community college system and what it has long offered students in this state, before delivering her highly partisan and predictable remarks.

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Author, professor speaks to SBCC about college economic crisis