New Rules for Higher Ed

Sara Goldrick-Rab
3 min readJan 25, 2023

The more things change, the more they stay the same…

I can’t believe it’s been 7 years since I first called for these new rules for higher education to improve the student experience. Despite the 15 “claps” the post received, they clearly haven’t been adopted. Students are still accosted with nonsense every day, and it’s far too easy to do performative equity rather than the real thing.

So let’s try this again…here’s an abbreviated and clarified Top 5.

Rule #1- Ban these statements and claims:

· “Once you file the FAFSA, college will be affordable.” (This is a huge lie and one we tell high school students every day. When will we stop using that to increase FAFSA completion rates and instead admit that FAFSA is only part of the solution?)

· “We should admit only those students we know will succeed.” (Think about all the racially coded language in the latest affirmative action case!)

· “Freezing tuition makes college affordable.” (“In the University of Wisconsin system, meanwhile, many low-income students have actually seen their net price increase across the last decade, even though tuition has held steady since 2013.)

· “There are no homeless or hungry students on our campus.” (A former chancellor once said this to me while



Sara Goldrick-Rab

Author of Paying the Price, founder of the #RealCollege movement, the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice, and Believe in Students