- A new study from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) shows that students whose parents did not attend college are 19% less likely themselves to finish college than students whose parents have some college experience.
- According to the data, first-generation students are less likely to have participated in advanced placement or college prep courses in high school and are less likely to enroll in college at all after high school graduation, with only 72% of first-generation students enrolling within 10 years compared to 93% of non-first-generation students.
- First-generation students are more likely to enroll in community, technical or for-profit colleges, but less likely to earn degrees from these schools or to transfer to a four-year institution. In fact, only14% of all students attending two-year institutions earn a bachelor's degree after transferring to a four-year institution within six years of college entry.
The unspoken liability for most first-generation college students is a lack of resources, and with that financial challenge are the cultural and economic resources that impede these students from even considering college. Arizona State University is one example of how institutions directly reach out to parents to help them understand how college helps to advance earning potential and why students should not be pressured to forego college in order to help with household financial support.
Another challenge for this student group is their access to money to help in paying for associated educational costs, such as transportation, textbooks, and food. Institutions in Florida, Maryland, and Virginia are piloting open-source textbook and material access to help lower expenses for students while increasing prospects for completion.
Addressing the orbital resource and cultural issues for students is the biggest fight in encouraging college completion; at least until campuses have to deal with helping students to feel welcomed on campus if they are in racial, economic minority groups.