“First-generation undergraduate students who are predominantly non-white and from low income backgrounds, face myriad financial, academic and social barriers to entering and completing college as the first in their families to navigate college admissions, financial aid and postsecondary coursework. Research has found significant differences in enrollment, degree attainment and finances between students whose parents have a bachelor’s degree or higher and students whose parents have little or no college experience.”
Only 11% of low-income, first-generation college students will have a college degree within six years of enrolling in school
- Compared to about 55% of their more advantaged peers who were not low-income or first-generation students, according to a Pell Institute study of students who first enrolled in fall 2003.
Compared to students whose parents attended college, first generation college students have:
At higher risk of failing out of college due to lower rates of college readiness in key academic areas compared to non-first-generation peers.
- 36% of first-generation students in their first or second year of undergraduate education reported taking a remedial class after high school, compared to 28% of their peers whose parents had at least a bachelor’s degree.
Lower median household income and more unmet financial need
- As a result, first-generation undergraduate students worked and borrowed more than their peers, with negative consequences for college completion.