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Our Team

Sandy Baum

Nonresident Senior Fellow, Center on Education Data and Policy, Urban Institute


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), Can College Level the Playing Field? Higher Education in an Unequal Society (2022), and Campus Economics: How Economic Thinking Can Help Improve College and University Decisions. Her blog posts appear frequently on Urban Wire. 

Education & Training

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. 

Outside Interests

Sandy has four adult children who have given her four grandsons and two stepchildren who have given her four granddaughters. 

Why I Work With NCHEMS

I am privileged to have the opportunity to work with the talented leaders and staff of NCHEMS as they continue their invaluable contributions to evidence-based decision making in higher education. The focus on informing public and institutional policy making through the effective use of reliable data, extensive experience, and sound judgement make NCHEMS a particularly exciting organization.