Supporting first generation college students
An estimated 50 percent of the college population is comprised of people whose parents never attended college according to a 2010 study by the Department of Education. The National Center for Education Statistics indicates that 30 percent of all entering freshmen are first-generation college students.
First generation students are disadvantaged across a myriad of variables. According to the National Center of Education Statistics only 11 percent of students who begin at community colleges end up with bachelor’s degrees. Being a first generation college student is one of the most often cited predictors of higher education failure—a status that universally leads to lesser educational outcomes.
Past research has indicated that students whose parents have no education beyond high school are significantly less likely to graduate than peers whose parents have at least a bachelor’s degree. Nationally, 89 percent of low-income first-generation students leave college within six years without a degree. More than a quarter leave after their first year — four times the dropout rate of higher-income second-generation students. Only 6 percent of lowest income bracket have a bachelor’s degree, albeit, nearly 40% of highest income individuals do (Fitzgerald and Delaney, 2002).
First-generation students are more likely to forgo a college education, or when they do pursue post-secondary education, are older when they begin their studies, are more likely to work for compensation, and are less likely to feel supported at home. Ironically, students who are first in their families to attend college are less likely to avail themselves of support services and resources than their counterparts. They are less likely to enter competitive institutions, and, when they do, are more likely to be academically underprepared
“To afford an unfettered start and a fair chance in the race of life.” Abraham Lincoln, 1861
“To open the gates of opportunity and create a society in which everyone has a chance to advance his welfare to the limit of his capacities.” Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965
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