Reading _Paying the Price_: a plan

Now that the book club has a new title to read – Sara Goldrick-Rab’s Paying the Price – how shall we go about reading and discussing it?

Sara Goldrick-Rab, Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American DreamOver the years my practice has been to publish a plan on this blog, including discussion venues and a timeline.  That seems to work so far, most spectacularly for the Horton/Freire reading, so let’s go with it and build a little more.

Discussion venues

First, on this blog I’ll publish a series of weekly posts.  Each post will contain notes and questions for that week’s chunk of reading.  Readers can comment on the post. And I may add other posts as we go, depending on what themes come up and what stuff other people create. All posts for this reading are organized by the same tag, payingtheprice, so you can find them all at once.

Second, on Twitter we can chat using the hashtag #payingtheprice.  It’s not a unique tag so far, alas, but it seems like references to this book are already leading, and our conversation should race ahead.  I’m happy to go with another (shorter) tag, too, if there is one.

Third, people with their own blogs can post about their reading.  Links back here would be appreciated.

Fourth, I’ve set up a Google Doc for notes and more discussions.  Wiki-style, it’s ours to do whatever we want with.  Let me know if you have issues getting to or using it.

Fifth, professor Goldrick-Rab kindly offered to synchronously video chat with us.  I’m working on setting that up, possibly as a Future Trends Forum session.


I’d like to shoot for about two chapters per week.  That sounds like sixty pages at a time, roughly.  And starting next week, since the hardcover is in some bookstores and libraries, and being shipped by Amazon, while the ebook is a quick download.

How does this sound?  Too soon, too late to start?  Too fast, too slow a reading pace?

January 23 – Introduction and 1: Possible Lives.

January 30 – 2: The Cost and Price of a College Education and 3: Who Gets Pell?

February 6 – 4: Making Ends Meet and 5: On Their Own.

February 13 – 6:Family Matters and 7: Making the Grade.

February 20 – 8: City of Broken Dreams and 9: Getting to Graduation

February 27 – 10: Making College Affordable and the two appendixes.


Professor Goldrick-rab has a discussion guide for the book on her website.  The Wikipedia page on her has good background and plenty of links.  Of course she’s active on Twitter.

There’s a rich C-SPAN interview with the author (thanks to Ilene Frank).  She was also on the Daily Show.

So, grab your e- or print book and start learning about just how fouled up is the system whereby Americans pay for higher education.  And get ready to comment.

PS: happy birthday, author!

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5 Responses to Reading _Paying the Price_: a plan

  1. chairthrower says:

    The C-SPANn interview is good, but sadly the interviewer had to resign from the presidency of City College shortly thereafter: I bring it up partly because it’s precipitated a debate at CUNY about costs overall–there’s been at least unofficial pressure from the Governor and state to make sure CUNY schools are spending their private funds primarily on instruction instead of other expenses.

  2. Pingback: Starting to read _Paying the Price_: Introduction and Possible Lives. | Bryan Alexander

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