In April 2013, Sara Goldrick-Rab testified before the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on the challenge of college affordability. An overview of the testimony and a link to the full text and the video follows.
The goal of federal financial aid is to help Americans achieve their fullest potential not only by
opening the doors to college, but also by providing them with the financial support necessary to
complete their studies. Students and families are resoundingly clear—as a nation we are not
meeting this goal. Research indicates that a lack of college affordability is frequently affecting
educational decisions, and discouraging the most talented students from low-income families
from even applying to great colleges and universities that match their abilities. Much of federal
financial aid, including the Pell Grant and tax credits, arrives too late, comes with requirements
that reduce its effectiveness, and makes a commitment to students that is too small and
insufficiently matched by efforts from states and higher education institutions. Just as troubling,
consumer confidence in the financial aid system is low. It is difficult to count on these resources
when they are constantly threatened and ever changing; they give the appearance of a Congress
unsure of what it is trying to accomplish. Your leadership is required to marshal and triage all
available resources, direct them to where they can be most effective, and build a financial aid
system that is worthy of our great nation.