This has certainly been the hardest chapter to read thus far. Not only the struggles facing Chloe, Ian, Tyler, Nima, Norbert, and Sophie (CINNTS) but many of the statistics that Sara includes are heartbreaking:
low-income families hold student debt amounting to about 70 percent of their income, while wealthier families have student debt amounting to around 10 percent of income – Sara Goldrick-Rab (1)
A disproportionate fraction of our African American students 38% as compared to 11% of white students) had a negative expected family contribution, signaling that their families had a great deal of financial need….White families hold as much as twenty times the wealth of black families (2)….In other words, income translates into wealth differently for black and white families. – Sara Goldrick-Rab (3)
38% of people from low-income families will remain in the bottom 40 percent of the income distribution even if they earn a college degree. And that is an important “if,” given that only 11 percent of them are likely to complete degrees. – Sara Goldrick-Rab (4)
Notable Themes From Chapter 4
Culturally, Americans believe students should work during college.
Access to jobs and work study have dwindled significantly over the years while the cost of living has steadily risen.
There’s fear, anxiety, and shame around loans.
Different student populations are affected by increasing financial need disproportionately.
College may yield access to better jobs but for many it also requires working multiple part time jobs just to attend.
Federal financial aid shows its flaws since it “leads undergraduates to worry about the adverse side effects of their parents’ good fortunes” (5). For example, a parent receiving employment may decrease aid given to students, leaving them in a worse predicament.
While reading the lengths CINNTS went through to attend college, I’m reminded how blessed I was for my opportunities. Even though I recall skipping a physical chemistry class for a painting gig that paid well and working around 30 hours a week one semester (the hardest of my undergraduate career), I didn’t have to sell a beloved horse or forgo my study abroad experience. I’m thankful. I’m really thankful that, for much of my academic career, I was able to focus on learning.
Also, chapter 10 can not come soon enough. Not because I want Paying the Price to end; instead I’m patiently awaiting the solutions that Sara will propose.
The featured image is provided CC0 by Paul Bergmeir via Unsplash.
- Sara Goldrick-Rab, Paying the Price, Loc 2017 (Kindle Edition).
- Taylor et al., “Wealth Gaps Rise to Record Highs between Whites, Blacks and Hispanics,” 1. (as cited in Paying the Price).
- Sara Goldrick-Rab, Paying the Price, Loc 1898 (Kindle Edition).
- Sara Goldrick-Rab, Paying the Price, Loc 2115 (Kindle Edition).
- Sara Goldrick-Rab, Paying the Price, Loc 2446 (Kindle Edition).