There are many hurdles to obtaining a college degree - and some occur before a student even steps foot on campus. Between the applications, visits, tests and tutors, applying to college can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars. If the financial barrier wasn’t enough, the many deadlines and forms create even more obstacles in the application process. This can be daunting for any potential college student - especially those who are considered first generation.
While the definition of "first generation" students can fluctuate, generally, these students come from a family where neither parents has a four-year degree. Many of these students also come from low-income families and identify as a racial or ethnic minority. Because of those financial and social barriers, the impact of having parents who have attended education after high school can be significant – only 50 percent of first generation students graduated within six years, whereas if at least one parent had an associate degree or higher, the rate jumps to 72 percent.
In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson’ signed the Higher Education Act, which contained the Upward Bound program, designed to support first generation students and/or students from low-income families, throughout college, by providing grants and services. In addition to federal programs, many non-profits, institutions, and colleges and universities - including right here in Northeast Ohio - are creating resources and scholarships designed to support these students.
How are these programs succeeding? What needs are unique to first generation students? And what can we expect for the future of supporting first generation students?
Join us as a panel of local experts discuss the struggles and successes of first generation students.