Combining data, research, and analysis, Sandy Baum writes and speaks extensively on the successes and challenges of higher education in the United States with a focus on financing, access, and affordability.

Recently Released

Sandy’s new book with Michael McPherson, Can College Level the Playing Field: Higher Education in an Unequal Society, places higher education in the context of inequalities before and after college, explaining why higher education is not a silver bullet for eradicating economic inequality and social injustice.

Listen to Sandy’s August 29, 2022 comments about student debt forgiveness on The Indicator from Planet Money

Read the transcript of Sandy’s debate about forgiving student debt on the New York Times’ “The Argument,” March 10, 2021.

Read Sandy’s February 2021 Urban Wire blog with Kristin Blagg, “Forgiving PLUS Debt for Low-Income Parent Borrowers”

Read Sandy’s December 2020 Urban Wire blog with Donald Marron, “What Would Forgiving Student Debt Mean for the Federal Budget?

Visit Sandy’s new Urban Institute guide to state financial aid programs, “Building a State Financial Aid Program”

Read Sandy’s  Op-Ed, published by the Washington Post
May 3, 2019
‘Free tuition’ is the opposite of progressive policymaking
It’s presented as leveling the playing field. It would worsen economic inequality.

By Sandy Baum and Sarah Turner

Visit Urban Wire, the blog of the Urban Institute, to read Sandy’s regular posts.


making college work

Making College Work: Pathways to Success for Disadvantaged Students 
by Harry J. Holzer & Sandy Baum

View an in-depth presentation here


Student Debt: Rhetoric and Realities of Higher Education Financing, uses evidence to explain the realities of student debt and how the current discourse obscures serious problems in how Americans make decisions about and pay for college.

Learn more about some of the policy recommendations in the book or purchase a copy.