I came to higher education finance from a broad interest in public policy, equity, and the distribution of income. College access is a critical part of this field, and both practitioners and policymakers are eager for analytical insights and evidence to strengthen their work. We have made a lot of progress in increasing access to postsecondary education, but we have a long way to go in diminishing how often family background influences where people end up in the educational and socioeconomic hierarchies. I look forward to continuing my work in this vital area of public policy at Urban.
Sandy Baum is a nonresident fellow in the Education Policy Program at the Urban Institute and professor emerita of economics at Skidmore College. An expert on higher education finance, she speaks and writes extensively about issues relating to college access, college pricing, student aid policy, student debt, and affordability.
Since 2002, Baum has coauthored the College Board’s annual publications Trends in Student Aid and Trends in College Pricing. She is a member of the board of the National Student Clearinghouse and has chaired major study groups through the College Board and the Brookings Institution, developing proposals for reforming federal and state student aid. Baum’s articles on higher education finance have been published in professional journals, books, and the trade press. She is the lead researcher on the Urban Institute’s college affordability website and is the author of Student Debt: Rhetoric and Realities of Higher Education Financing and coauthor of Making College Work: Pathways to Success for Disadvantaged Students.
Baum earned her BA in sociology from Bryn Mawr College, where she serves on the board of trustees, and earned her PhD in economics from Columbia University.