The Education Optimists is a consultancy group led by Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab, Professor of Higher Education Policy & Sociology at Temple University, and Founder at the Wisconsin HOPE Lab, the nation’s only translational research laboratory seeking ways to make college more affordable.
Dr. Goldrick-Rab’s commitment to scholar-activism is evidenced by her broad profile of research and writing dissecting the intended and unintended consequences of the college-for-all movement in the United States. 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 non-profit organizations seeking to examine the effects of their practices, and providing technical assistance to Congressional staff, think tanks, and membership organizations throughout Washington, DC.
Many professional organizations and foundations have honored Dr. Goldrick-Rab for her work. In 2013, she was invited to testify before the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, chaired by Senators Tom Harkin and Lamar Alexander. In 2014, she received the Early Career Award from the American Educational Research Association, and in 2015 she graduated from the William T. Grant Foundation’s five-year-long Faculty Scholars program.
Dr. Goldrick-Rab is widely published in venues such as Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Sociology of Education, Review of Educational Research, and Teachers College Record, and in 2014, Harvard Education Press released her co-edited book, Reinventing Financial Aid: Charting a New Course to College Affordability. In fall 2016, the University of Chicago will publish her latest book, Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream.
The LLC began as a blog in 2008. Over time the blog readership has flourished, serving as a place that researchers, policymakers, and practitioners turn to for critical commentary and sharp takes on the latest issues. In 2010, the Washington Post named the couple’s blog one of the top 10 in education.
The EduOptimists LLC was created 2013 in an effort to centralize Sara’s investments in her community, providing consultative services to people seeking advice and fresh thinking on topics in a range of areas related to college access and success.