Supporting First-Generation Students - CFDE Picks

Betances, Samuel. “How to Become an Outstanding Educator of Hispanic and African-American First-generation College Students,” in What Makes Racial Diversity Work in Higher Education: Academic Leaders Present Successful Policies and Strategies, edited by Frank W. Hale, Jr. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing, 2004. 44-59.

Book available at Woodruff Library.

Betances suggests several action steps for educators who want to better support first-generation students and strengthen racial diversity in higher education.

Davis, Jeff. The First Generation Student Experience: Implications for Campus Practice, and Strategies for Improving Persistence and Success. Sterling: Stylus Publishing, 2010.

Available online via Woodruff Library.

Davis describes experiences and challenges faced by first-generation college students, with details and analysis drawn both from research literature and from first-generation students’ own narrative accounts. Chapter 6 then offers several recommendations of how institutions and faculty might better meet these students’ needs.

Engle, Jennifer, and Vincent Tinto. Moving Beyond Access: College Success for Low-Income, First-Generation Students. St. Paul: Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, 2008.

Available online via ERIC.

This report gathers data about the demographics, constraints, and completion rates of students who are both first-generation and low-income. Pages 2-4 succinctly summarize the study and its findings, while pages 25-29 discuss the recommended best practices for supporting and retaining these students.

Ward, Lee, Michael J. Siegel, and Zebulun Davenport. First-Generation College Students: Understanding and Improving the Experience from Recruitment to Commencement. Hoboken: Wiley & Sons, 2012.

Available online via Woodruff Library.

The authors argue that first-generation students need distinctive social and academic support systems—especially during the student’s first year—to thrive in college. Emphasizing the central importance of student learning outcomes and of a holistic approach to student success, the book includes various concrete recommendations for recruiting, retaining and graduating first-generation students.