At the heart of today’s college completion conundrum is the challenge of helping more first-generation college-goers, especially low-income students and students of color, start and finish strong. While first-generation students compose nearly one-third of students entering two- or four-year colleges and universities in the US, only 11 percent of low-income, first-generation students earn a bachelor’s degree within six years. The first-year experience is especially problematic for these students—the Pell Institute found that low-income, first-generation students were almost four times more likely to leave college after the first year than more affluent peers.

More than Financial Support

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About the Author:

Cathy Buyarski is the executive director of Student Success Initiatives at IUPUI; Jeff Fanter is senior vice president of Student Experience at Ivy Tech.