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 senior fellow in the Center on Education Data and Policy 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. From 2002 through 2019, Baum coauthored the College Board’s annual publications Trends in Student Aid and Trends in College Pricing. Her articles on higher education finance have been published in professional journals, books, and the trade press. She is the lead researcher on Urban’s college affordability website and Urban’s "Building a State Financial Aid Program" web guide. She is the author of Student Debt: Rhetoric and Realities of Higher Education Financing (2016) and the coauthor of Making College Work: Pathways to Success for Disadvantaged Students (2017) and Can College Level the Playing Field? Higher Education in an Unequal Society (2022). Her blog posts appear frequently on Urban Wire.
Baum earned her BA in sociology from Bryn Mawr College, where she served on the board of trustees from 2012 to 2022, and her PhD in economics from Columbia University.