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RSF Bulletin

New Book: Who Should Pay? Higher Education, Responsibility, and the Public

While Americans now attain college degrees at a higher rate than ever before, the costs of an undergraduate education have increased dramatically. As a result, total student debt reached nearly $1.5 trillion in 2017, and calls for student loan forgiveness have gained momentum. However, public policies have done little to address college affordability. Noting that public opinion can influence public policy, sociologists Natasha Quadlin (University of California, Los Angeles) and Brian Powell (Indiana University) examine public opinion on who should be responsible for the increasing costs of higher education and why.

Who Should Pay? draws on a decade’s worth of public opinion surveys analyzing public attitudes about whether parents, students, or the government should be primarily responsible for funding higher education. Quadlin and Powell find that between 2010 and 2019, public opinion shifted dramatically in favor of more government funding. In 2010, 82 percent of Americans believed that parents and students should be primarily responsible for these costs. By 2019, the percentage who believed that federal or state/local government should be the primary financial contributor more than doubled from 18 to 43 percent. The authors also find increased endorsement of shared responsibility between individuals and the government, from 27 to 36 percent over these years.

They also examine attitudes on the accessibility of college for all, whether higher education at public universities should be free, and whether college is worth the costs. They find that while from 2015 to 2019 the percentage of respondents that believed that there are ways to succeed without college increased significantly, a consistent percentage of respondents believed that college is worth the cost.

Who Should Pay? demonstrates how quickly public opinion has shifted regarding the responsibility of paying for a college education and its implications for future students.

Read more and purchase a copy of the book.


New RSF Medium Page

RSF is pleased to announce the launch of its new Medium page, which highlights the many contributions of RSF-affiliated scholars, authors, and researchers to the public discussion on today’s pressing social, political, and economic issues. The RSF Medium page features original content, such as our interview with Greg Duncan (University of California, Irvine) about his work with the seminal Baby’s First Years study, a piece on affirmative action and anti-Asian racism by Jennifer Lee (Columbia University and RSF trustee) as well as op-eds by Harry Holzer (Georgetown University), James L. Gibson (Washington University in St. Louis), Jason Furman (Harvard Kennedy School and RSF trustee), and Diana Hernández (Columbia University), which have been published in media outlets such as USA Today, Forbes, FiveThirtyEight, Science, and elsewhere.

View RSF's Medium page here.


RSF-Funded Public Datasets Now Available on the RSF Website

For decades, RSF has provided funding for research studies that involved significant data collection. Studies that produced publicly available datasets can now be accessed through RSF’s website and are searchable by keyword. The archive currently contains 76 datasets, covering topics such as child development and well-being, economic inequality, educational access, employment discrimination, immigrant integration, and political participation. Datasets include Immigration and Intergenerational Mobility in Metropolitan Los Angeles; Economic Inequality and Political Representation; and the Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality.

Explore the dataset archive here.


Register for April 6 Webinar: Can Social Scientists Influence the Public Debate? A Discussion with David Leonhardt

David Leonhardt, a senior writer at The New York Times and a Russell Sage Foundation trustee, will examine the ways that social scientists can engage with lay audiences and policymakers to contribute to public discussion on the important policy issues of our times. He will discuss writing op-eds, using social media, and engaging with journalists, practitioners, and policy makers. Date: Wednesday, April 6, 2022; 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Register here for the webinar.


Dissertation Research Grants Program Deadline

RSF has established a new dissertation research grants (DRG) program to support innovative and high-quality dissertation research that addresses questions relevant to any of its priority areas: Behavioral Science and Decision Making in Context; Future of Work; Race, Ethnicity and Immigration; Immigration and Immigrant Integration; and Social, Political, and Economic Inequality. Proposed projects must be closely aligned with the funding priorities listed on our website for any of these areas, contribute to our mission to improve social and living conditions in the U.S., and demonstrate appropriate use of relevant theory, innovative data, rigorous methods, and measures.

To be eligible, applicants must be enrolled doctoral students who have completed all program requirements except the dissertation. To receive funding, an applicant whose proposal is selected for a grant must have their dissertation supervisor document that the dissertation research (a) is the same research that was described in the DRG grant application and (b) has been approved by the dissertation committee. These grants will support all aspects of dissertation research (data collection, data preparation, data analysis and writing), but are not intended for students who have completed data collection and analysis and propose to spend the entire grant period writing the dissertation.

The proposal deadline is March 1, 2022, for funding starting in Summer 2022.

On February 1, 2022, RSF staff held a webinar that provides important information about the program, eligibility requirements, and application process. Watch the webinar here.

Read more about the Dissertation Research Grants program.


Application Deadlines for 2022 Summer Institutes for Early Carer Scholars

In Summer 2022, RSF will sponsor several intensive one or two-week summer institutes for doctoral students and early career scholars. Applications for the Migration Research Methods Summer Institute will be due March 1, 2022. The application deadline for the Behavioral Economics Summer Institute is March 28, 2022.

Read more and view application guidelines and deadlines.


Visiting Scholar, Journalist, and Researcher Application Deadlines

The foundation’s Visiting Scholar program is a unique opportunity for junior and senior scholars to spend a year (or a semester) in residence at RSF in New York City pursuing research examining essential questions on social, economic, and political life in the United States. The program fosters the exchange of ideas in a vibrant interdisciplinary environment and promotes multi-disciplinary collaborations. Applications are reviewed by outside experts; final selections are made by RSF trustees. Applications for the 2023-2024 academic year will be accepted until June 28, 2022.

View further information about the program, including eligibility requirements and application guidelines.

RSF is also accepting application for visiting journalists and visiting researchers in residence at RSF during the 2023-2024 academic year. The deadline is May 4, 2022.

View further information about the deadlines for these programs.


Funding Guidelines for May 4, 2022, Deadline for Letters of Inquiry

For its next deadline, RSF will accept letters of inquiry (LOIs) under any of its core programs and special initiatives: Behavioral Science and Decision Making in Context; Future of Work; Immigration and Immigrant Integration; Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration; and Social, Political, and Economic Inequality. In addition, RSF will also accept LOIs relevant to any of these programs that address at least one of the following issues: (a) research on the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting recession, or (b) research on systemic racial inequality and/or the recent mass protests.

LOIs must include specific information about the proposed data and research design. After peer review, about 15% of those who submit an LOI will receive an invitation to submit a full proposal. The deadline for submitting LOIs is May 4, 2022. Successful proposals can start on or after December 1, 2022.


How to Apply for Funding from RSF

In October 2021, RSF program staff held a webinar explaining its program funding priorities and application process. Please visit our website to review our grant writing and budget guidelines, view examples of successful letters of inquiry and proposals, and view a 5-minute video on how to submit letters of inquiry or other applications using our grants management system.


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