Newswise — College of Education Professor Sara Goldrick-Rab has won a prestigious Andrew Carnegie Fellowship for her scholarship and activism in food and housing insecurity among college students.

Temple University’s Sara Goldrick-Rab is the first-ever Temple faculty member to receive the prestigious honor of Andrew Carnegie Fellow. 

Goldrick-Rab, a professor of higher education policy and sociology in the College of Education, plans to use the fellowship and its accompanying award of up to $200,000 to write a book about food and housing insecurity in higher education.


“This will be extraordinarily helpful in beginning the next phase of our work,” Goldrick-Rab said. “Right now, we are experiencing a moment where we can have a real impact on students experiencing food and housing insecurity by implementing evidence-based practice.” 

The Carnegie Fellowship recognizes an exceptional group of established and emerging humanities scholars with the goal of strengthening U.S. democracy, driving technological and cultural creativity, exploring global connections and global ruptures, and improving natural and human environments. 

“When President Englert and Dean Anderson nominated me, I was completely flabbergasted. I really did not expect the nomination let alone to win the award,” Goldrick-Rab said of the Carnegie Fellowship. “It’s extraordinary for someone in education to be selected—to my knowledge none of the past winners are higher education scholars, and none of the education fellows have been women.”

Recipients of the Carnegie Fellowship are selected by an anonymous jury of scholars from leading institutions of higher education and research. The jurors are asked to consider the merits of each nominee’s proposal based on its originality, promise and potential impact on a particular field of scholarship. This year, 31 recipients were chosen from a pool of more than 300 nominees. 

“The health of our democracy depends on an informed citizenry, and our universities, academies, and academic associations play an essential role in replenishing critical information and providing knowledge through scholarship,” said Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York. “The Andrew Carnegie Fellows Program is designed to support scholarship that brings fresh perspectives from the social sciences and humanities to the social, political, and economic problems facing the United States and the world today.”   

The Carnegie Fellowship is the most recent of several national awards Goldrick-Rab has received in recognition of her scholarship and activism. In April 2018, she received the Grawemeyer Award from the University of Louisville for her book, Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream. She has also received multimillion-dollar grants from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, and POLITICO Magazine named her one of the top 50 people shaping American politics in 2016. She also holds the American Educational Research Association’s Early Career Award. 

Goldrick-Rab earned her PhD in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania and joined the Temple University College of Education faculty in 2016. In more than a dozen experimental, longitudinal and mixed-methods studies, she has examined the efficacy and distributional implications of financial aid policies, welfare reform, transfer practices and a range of interventions aimed at increasing college attainment among marginalized populations. 

She provides extensive service to local, state and national communities, working directly with governors and state legislators to craft policies to make college more affordable, collaborating with nonprofit organizations seeking to examine the effects of their practices, and providing technical assistance to Congressional staff, think tanks and membership organizations throughout Washington, D.C.

“This award recognizes Sara’s prolific scholarly and impactful work that has brought much needed attention to national issues of critical importance. I look forward to the opportunities this fellowship will afford Sara and her team as they support the success of college students across the nation,” said Gregory Anderson, dean of the College of Education at Temple.

“I intend to use this fellowship to write a book that marshals more than a decade of my team’s research. I want the kind of book that you pick up in an airport and learn that college is not what you thought it to be,” she said. “In my last book, Paying the Price, people read a story about financial aid, but this conversation is about far more than financial aid. This work is about students’ right to have their needs for food and housing secured while they’re getting an education, and that is far more fundamental.”

In addition to the work she plans to do for her Carnegie Fellowship, Goldrick-Rab has several projects on the horizon for 2018, including the launch of #Voices4Change, a new initiative in the #RealCollege movement, the forthcoming HOPE Center for College, Community and Justice, and continuing to teach at the graduate and undergraduate levels. 

“This coming academic year, I’m teaching a graduate seminar on college affordability and a general education course, Why Care About College: Higher Education in American Life, for undergraduate students,” she said. “My research and teaching are tightly connected. The students in my classroom are experiencing the exact issues I’m writing about, and I learn so much from them every single day.”

—Nick Bailey