To borrow a phrase: An investigation of the news media?s role in racialized student loan policy communication.
Dominique Baker

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



Southern Methodist University

Primary Discipline

Educational Policy
Systemic racism creates an environment in which students of color disproportionately struggle with student loans. The media discourse on student loans, including the way that race, racism, and student loans intersect in the framing of the issue, plays a significant role in the public and policy actors? understanding of student loans? challenges and potential solutions. The proposed study will examine the racialized framing of student loans using Natural Language Processing techniques applied to fifteen years? worth of news articles. I will examine the use of racialized language terms (determined based on prior research and revised based on inductive examination of the news articles) and the words or phrases used to describe those terms within each news outlet and over time. Focusing on policy communication through the media will help to ensure that the public and policy actors do not rely on decontextualized and race-neutral understandings of student loan debt.
About Dominique Baker
Dominique Baker is an Associate Professor of Education Policy (effective Sept 1, 2022) in the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development and a Faculty Affiliate of the Data Science Institute at Southern Methodist University. Her research focuses on the way that education policy affects and shapes the access and success of minoritized students in higher education. She primarily investigates student financial aid, affirmative action and admissions policies, and policies that influence the ability to create an inclusive & equitable campus climate. Dr. Baker has testified before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs?s Subcommittee on Economic Policy on race, racism, and student loans. Her work and expertise have been highlighted by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and National Public Radio, among others. She is the 2021 recipient for the Association for Education Finance & Policy?s Early Career Award and the Association for the Study of Higher Education?s Excellence in Public Policy Award, in recognition of the impact and promise of her scholarly career. Dr. Baker earned her Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership and Policy Studies (education policy) from Peabody College at Vanderbilt University. She earned her M.Ed. in Student Affairs Practice in Higher Education and B.A. in Psychology from the University of Virginia.

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