GPLXC

Gage Park Latinx Council 

First Generation Student Network 

The GPLXC First Generation Student Network is an initiative activity working to build community and support with Southwest side students who are the first in their families to pursue higher education. Working to create intentional space and support systems to aid in the success of Gage Park students while combating the false narratives about who youth from our communities are, and what they are capable of. The network allows students to learn from one another's experiences and creates opportunities to engage with guest speakers and community mentors to help guide members in their academic and personal journeys. Navigating higher education as a first gen student of color can be an isolating experience, together we can build networks for success. 

 

1

NETWORKING EVENTS & SOCIAL SPACE 

First generation students are at a higher risk of not graduating college due to many systemic circumstances. One way of combating that statistic is to build support systems with others who are navigating higher education in a similar way and with community mentors who have succesfuly been the first in their families to earn a degree. Having guidance and support from both peers and mentors is important in combating isolation and imposter syndrome as well as learning how to navigate higher ed and balance your personal life.   

2

fACILITATED CONVERSATIONS  

The GPLXC 1st Gen Student Network offers opportunities to attend facilitated dialogue around issues that are relevant to our cultural experiences and communities . Attendees have the opportunity to learn from guest speakers and their peers as we engage in conversations often left out of the narrative in classrooms.  

3

wORKSHOPS & Resources 

GPLXC 1st Gen Student Network also offers a series of workshops centered around helping attendees with resume and cover letter writing, scholarship writing, grad school applications, DACA applications, self care and more. Additionally the network serves as a place to share resources with one another. 

Why It Matters 

1.

First Generation Student Enrollment/Degree Attainment

  • First-generation students were more likely to attend two-year schools than their peers.

  • 48% of first-generation students enrolled in a two-year school, compared with 32% of students whose parents had at least a bachelor’s degree.

  • Only 25% of first-generation students attended four-year institutions. According to a 2008 Pell Institute study, first-generation students were more than seven times more likely to earn bachelor’s degrees if they started in four-year institutions as opposed to two-year institutions.

  • First-generation students are more likely to enroll in for-profit schools than their peers.

  • 19% of first-generation students enrolled in for-profit schools, compared with 8% of students whose parents had at least a bachelor’s degree.

  • Nearly 50% of all students enrolled in for-profit schools were first-generation students.

  • First-generation students were more likely to attend college part-time than their peers.

  • 48% of first-generation students attended college part-time, compared to 38% of students whose parents had at least a bachelor’s degree.

  • First-generation students enrolled in distance education at a higher rate than their peers.

  • 8% of first-generation students enrolled in distance learning while 5% of their peers whose parents had at least a bachelor’s degree enrolled in distanced learning.

  • According to a 2011 report from the Higher Education Research Institute, first-generation students were less likely to complete their college degree in six years than their peers whose parents had at least some college experience (50% first-generation versus 64% non-first-generation).

  • 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.

2.

First Generation Student Challenges

  • First-generation students demonstrated lower rates of college readiness in key academic areas compared to their non-first-generation peers. This put them at a higher risk of failing out of college.

    • 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.

  • First-generation students had a lower median household income and more unmet financial need compared to students whose parents attended college.

    • The median family income for first-generation freshmen at two- and four-year institutions was $37,565, compared to $99,635 for non-first-generation freshmen.

    • According to a 2008 Pell Institute study, the mean amount of unmet financial need for low-income, first-generation students was nearly $6,000 (before loans), which represented half of their median annual income of $12,100. As a result, they worked and borrowed more than their peers, with negative consequences for college completion.

    • 27% of first-generation students come from households making $20,000 or less, compared to 6% of non-first-generation freshmen.

  • First-generation students are borrowing from the federal government at increasing rates to pay for their education (from 15% in 1997 to approximately 37% in 2013).

    • 46% of first-generation borrowers attended institutions in the bottom quartile in default rate measurements.

3.

First Generation Student Demographics

  • First-generation students tended to be older than their peers and were more likely to have dependents.

    • The median age for first-generation students was 24, compared to the median age of 21 for students whose parents had at least a bachelor’s degree.

    • 34% of first-generation students were over age 30, compared to 17% of students whose parents had at least a bachelor’s degree.

  • Among students considered independent for financial aid purposes, 60% of first-generation students had dependents compared to 45% of students whose parents had at least a bachelor’s degree.

  • Minority students were more likely than white students to be first-generation students.

    • 42% of black students and 48% of Hispanic students were first-generation students, compared to 28% of white students.

  • English is not a first language for nearly 20% of first-generation students.

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