Who are first-generation students?

Thirty percent of higher education students today are the first in their family to attend college, which increases their chances of not obtaining their degree.  Being a first-generation student is a commonly cited predictor for failing to graduate college, largely due to financial struggles and lack of college preparedness. Strategies such as intrusive advising, programming, and the coordination of information have proven effective to meet the needs of first-generation, low-income and/or underrepresented students. Students from these groups face daunting challenges in their pursuit to graduate with a degree. For example:

  • 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.
  • These students are less likely to avail themselves of support services and resources than their counterparts due to the following: lack of awareness of college resources, college preparedness and parents lacking higher education experience to guide them.
  • The students often have limited professional connections to leverage in the job search and to connect them with professional development opportunities.
  • First-generation students have a higher graduation rate when intrusive advising is provided.

Below are more resources and informaton to understand first-generation students