The Summit Blog



Same great info with a twist! Meet the new face of the financial wellness summit. Introducing Higher Education Financial Wellness (HEFW). Though our name has changed, our mission is the same:

The Higher Education Financial Wellness Summit unites educators with a passion for student financial wellness and connects those who value the significance in students’ understanding of how to manage their personal finances.


HEFW has been working diligently since last year’s summit to bring you a fresh new line-up of financial wellness information, starting with the Pre-Conferences on Sunday, July 30. If you are just starting a program or even looking at getting administrative buy-in to start a program on your campus, The Start-Up Institute will be invaluable. You will get to hear from successful programs from around the country, learn best practices, and be involved in a mentor relationship.  

We are also continuing our Program Enhancement Series this year with a focus on Defining Financial Wellness. This session will help participants understand financial wellness from a holistic standpoint and will address dynamics around intersections of finance with students’ emotional, psychological, and physical well-being. In the afternoon, there are three other Pre-Conference sessions over Setting Standards for Peer Program Assessment , Marketing Your Program: From Logo to Promo, and a session that will include a student panel discuss what they need and want from a financial wellness program! Need more information? Visit the Pre-Conference section of our website. 

Keynote Spotlight: Sara Goldrick-Rab, Ph.D

Sara Goldrick-Rab, Ph.D. is an award-winning education expert and the author of Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream (University of Chicago Press). It is an Amazon best-seller, and has been featured on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, the New York Review of Books, and CSPAN’s Book TV, among other venues. Dr. Goldrick-Rab is a Professor of Higher Education Policy and Sociology at Temple University and Founder of the Wisconsin HOPE Lab, the nation’s only translational research laboratory seeking ways to make college more affordable. A sought-after speaker, she has given talks for the Domestic Policy Council at the White House, United States Student Association, National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs, and for colleges, legislators, philanthropists, and business leaders across the country.
Many professional organizations and foundations have honored Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab for her work. In 2013, she was invited to testify before the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, chaired by Senators Tom Harkin and Lamar Alexander. In 2014, she received the Early Career Award from the American Educational Research Association, and in 2015 she graduated from the William T. Grant Foundation’s five-year-long Faculty Scholars program. In 2016, POLITICO Magazine named her one of the top 50 people shaping American politics.
Dr. Goldrick-Rab’s singular mission is to identify novel approaches to making higher education the accessible and affordable place that American families want and need it to be. She is recognized as one of the architects of President Obama’s free college proposal, America’s College Promise, and has helped craft state and federal legislation to lower the price of college across the country.
Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab has evaluated dozens of interventions aimed at increasing college attainment among marginalized populations. She conducts both rigorous experimental research and in-depth qualitative studies aimed at capturing the real life stories of undergraduates and the faculty, staff, and administrators who serve them.
In Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream Dr. Goldrick-Rab proves in damning detail why the assumption that if a young person works hard enough, they’ll be able to get a college degree and be on the path to a good life is painfully untrue today. Quite simply, college is currently far too expensive for many people, and the confusing mix of federal, state, institutional, and private financial aid leaves countless students without the resources they need to pay for it. Drawing on an unprecedented study of 3,000 young adults who entered public colleges and universities in Wisconsin in 2008 with the support of federal aid and Pell Grants, Dr. Goldrick-Rab reveals the devastating effect of these shortfalls. She doesn’t merely identify the problem and its causes, she also lays out a number of possible solutions, including a public sector-focused “first degree free” program.

Dr. Goldrick-Rab is widely published in venues such as Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Sociology of Education, Review of Educational Research, and Teachers College Record, and co-edited a Harvard Education Press volume, Reinventing Financial Aid: Charting a New Course to College Affordability. 

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Another great way to stay up to speed on the hottest new financial wellness topics and ideas is to add us to your social media. We look forward to connecting with you on social media and meeting you at this year’s Summit to share and discuss our best practices.