New online poverty course seeks to educate public on inequality

Oct. 19, 2016, 1:52 a.m.

The Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality (CPI) is offering a free online course on poverty and inequality in the United States. The course, called America’s Poverty Course, covers the causes of poverty and inequality along with effective strategies to fight poverty.

“The motivation of this course is to allow anyone — rich and poor alike, college students or not college students alike — to have access to the most important facts about poverty and inequality,” said David Grusky, professor of sociology and director of the CPI.

The course, which is open to the public, launched Oct. 10 and is still open for enrollment. It features short five-minute lectures from top scholars, such as Stanford economics professor Raj Chetty, Stanford education professor Sean Reardon and Lindsay Owens, Georgetown sociology professor and economic policy advisor for Senator Elizabeth Warren. The different instructors discuss their own findings and their discoveries without jargon.

“What makes this course special is that we brought together the top scholars in poverty and inequality from across the country —the ones who have made defining contributions,” Grusky said.

The course covers 40 research results, including how some people in America live with under $2 a day and how gender and racial inequality may contribute to poverty. After completing the course with a grade of 70 percent or above, students can earn a Statement of Accomplishment.

Grusky emphasized that it is an important course because poverty education is often inaccessible and can be a useful tool for professionals, such as those working in non-profits targeting poverty and who may not be up-to-date on current studies.

“We’ve been really happy with the students that we’re getting,” said Stephanie Garlow, CPI communications manager. “They really seem to have a demonstrated interest in the topics.”

Currently, 2,000 students have registered for the course. The course is available online at and will run through Dec. 15.


Contact Stephanie Brito at sbrito ‘at’

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