Gregory Wolniak conducts research on the socioeconomic effects of college. He is particularly interested in understanding how college students’ socioeconomic trajectories are affected by their experiences in college, their educational choices, their institutional environments, and the degree to which learning and developmental gains made during college translate to post-college outcomes. He has published extensively on the career and economic influences of the college experience and recently organized the Affordability and Transparency Initiative, aimed at improving the ways institutions communicate their tuition and cost information to the public. His work has been featured in recent articles appearing in The Atlantic, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Conversation, Inside Higher Education and MarketWatch. In addition, Wolniak is co-author on the 3rd volume of How College Affects Students: 21st Century Evidence that Higher Education Works (2016, Wiley/Jossey-Bass).
Wolniak has been principal investigator on numerous externally funded projects, most recently receiving grants from the Gates Foundation, Spencer Foundation, the Prisoner Reentry Institute, and the Horatio Alger Association. In addition, he is IHE’s research and outreach liaison with the University System of Georgia’s, Division of Research and Policy Analysis and an affiliated researcher with the Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium. He is Associate Editor of the Journal of Higher Education and on the editorial board of Teachers College Record, with recent publications appearing in AERA Open, Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, Research in Higher Education, and Review of Higher Education.
Prior to arriving at the Institute, Wolniak was founding director of the Center for Research on Higher Education Outcomes and Clinical Associate Professor of Higher Education at New York University. Previously, he served as senior research scientist with NORC at the University of Chicago and received his doctorate in 2004 from the University of Iowa.
- Ph.D., Social Foundations of Education, University of Iowa
- M.A., Economics, University of Illinois at Chicago
- B.S., Economics, Iowa State University
Refereed Articles (partial list, 2016-present)
Wolniak, G.C., & Muskens, M. (2021). Undermatching and Affective Development during the First Year of College: A longitudinal study of college students in the Netherlands. Research in Higher Education. Online first. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11162-020-09620-w.
Wolniak, G.C., Mitic, R. & Engberg, M.E. (2020). Diverse Pathways to Graduate Education Attainment. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 13(4), 368-383. https://doi.org/10.1037/dhe0000141.
Davis, L.D., Wolniak, G.C., George, C.E., & Nelson, G. (2019). Demystifying Tuition? Building a framework for informational quality and accessibility. AERA Open, 5(3), 1-27.
Wolniak, G.C., & Engberg, M.E. (2019). Do "High-Impact" College Experiences Affect Early Career Outcomes? Review of Higher Education, 42(3), 825-858.
Allen, D., & Wolniak, G.C. (2019). Exploring the Effects of Tuition Increases on Racial/Ethnic Diversity at Public Colleges and Universities. Research in Higher Education, 60(1), 18-43.
Seifert, T.A., Bowman, N.A., Wolniak, G.C., Rockenbach, A.N., & Mayhew, M.J. (2017). Ten Challenges and Recommendations for Advancing Research on the Effects of College on Students. AERA Open, 3(2), 1-12.
Wolniak, G.C. (2016). Examining STEM Bachelor's Degree Completion for Students with Differing Propensities at College Entry. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory, and Practice, 18(3), 287-309.
Wolniak, G.C., Wells, R.C., Engberg, M.E., & Manly, C.A. (2016). College Enhancement Strategies and Socioeconomic Inequality. Research in Higher Education, 57(3), 310-334.
Books & Chapters (partial list, 2016-present)
Williams, T.M., & Wolniak, G.C. (2020). Unpacking the "Female Advantage" in the Career and Economic Impacts of College. In N. Niemi & M. Weaver-Hightower (Eds.), The Wiley Handbook of Gender Equity in Higher Education (pp. 7-28). Wiley-Blackwell.
Muskens, M.,Wolniak, G.C., & Borghans, L. (2020). The Long-Term Consequences of College Undermatching on Career and Personal Well-Being After College. In B. Broucker, V. Borden, T. Kallenerg, & C. Milsom (Eds.), Responsibility of Higher Education Systems: What? Why? How? (pp. 51-73). Rotterdam, Netherlands: Brill.
Wolniak, G.C., George, C.E., & Nelson, G.R. (2019). The Emerging Differential Tuition Era Among U.S. Public Universities. In P. Teixeira, et al. (Eds.), Under Pressure? Higher Education Institutions Coping with Multiple Challenges (pp. 191-214). Rotterdam, Netherlands: Brill.
Wolniak G., Ballerini V. (2019). Peer Effects, Higher Education. In P. Teixeira & J. Shin (Eds.), Encyclopedia of International Higher Education Systems and Institutions. Dodrecht, Netherlands: Springer.
Mayhew, M. J., Rockenbach, A.B., Bowman, N.A., Seifert, T.A., & Wolniak, G.C. (2016). How College Affects Students: 21st Century Evidence that Higher Education Works. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Dr. Wolniak conducts research on the socioeconomic effects of college. He is particularly interested in understanding how college students’ socioeconomic trajectories are affected by their experiences in college, their educational choices, their institutional environments, and the degree to which learning and developmental gains made during college translate to post-college outcomes.
Principal Investigator (2021), Tracking the Educational Pathways and Success Over Four Years of College: A Longitudinal Study of the 2017 Cohort. Horatio Alger Association. $99,750.
Principal Investigator (2020), Longitudinal Follow-up of the 2017 Cohort of Horatio Alger Scholars. Horatio Alger Association. $38,407.
Co-PI with Charles Knapp and Jeffrey Humphreys (2019-2021), College Completion and the Georgia Workforce. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. $393,487.
Co-PI with City University of New York (2018-2020), Evaluating the Prisoner Reentry Institute’s College Initiative. The Prisoner Reentry Institute at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. $350,000.
Lead Principal Investigator (2017-2019), Understanding and Enhancing Career Development among Socially Mobile College Students. Horatio Alger Association Scholarship Program. $179,806.
Lead Principal Investigator (2017-2018), Strengthening the Graduate Education Pipeline through Diversity: Examining Factors that Influence Aspirations, Enrollment, and Completion. Funder: AccessLex Institute / Association for Institutional Research. $49,862.
Lead Principal Investigator (2016-2017), Improving Transparency in College Costs: Examining College Attendance in the Era of Differential Tuition Practices. Spencer Foundation $49,766.
Principal Investigator (2015-2016), The State of Our Nation’s Youth 2016 & Portraits of Contrast. Horatio Alger Association. $108,242.
Principal Investigator (2015-2016), Inspirational Teaching and Learning and the Development of Preservice Teachers: A multi-institutional study of non-cognitive factors. Sanford Education Center, National University. $160,000.
Principal Investigator (2012-2013), Examining the STEM Pipeline among Underrepresented and Disadvantaged College Students. Center for Excellence in Survey Research, NORC at the University of Chicago. $18,501.
Principal Investigator (2011-2012), The State of Our Nation’s Youth 2012. Horatio Alger Association $117,040.
Principal Investigator (2010-2012), Understanding Educational Resilience and Factors Associated with College and Career Success among Scholarship Recipients. Horatio Alger Association Scholarship Program. $330,000.
Co-PI with Mark E. Engberg (2010-2011), Access to Postsecondary Education: The interrelationship among high school contexts and socioeconomic status. Association for Institutional Research, NSF, & NPEC Research Grant (Award number: RG10-144). $39,000.
Principal Investigator (2009-2010), High School Contexts and Postsecondary Outcomes: A Multilevel Analysis of ELS:2002. Center for Excellence in Survey Research, NORC at the University. $18,707.