General Question

Fly's avatar

What makes one a first-generation college student?

Asked by Fly (8675 points ) October 15th, 2011

I’ve tried looking this up but there doesn’t seem to be any general consensus on what makes a college student first-generation. I’m filling out college applications and when I started to fill in my parents’ education, I realized that I might not qualify for first-generation scholarships as I had thought. Does first-generation refer to actual attendance at college, or does it refer to graduation with a degree?

In my case, both my father and my grandmother have attended college, but neither of them graduated with any degrees.

Thanks in advance for any help!

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9 Answers

njnyjobs's avatar

On a case by case basis, First-generation college students are those students whose parent(s) have not attained a college degree, as some institutions consider non-attendance at a college of the parent(s) to be the requisite. Check with the college how they define the term.

YARNLADY's avatar

For your purposes, it would be the college degree, not attending some classes. I suggest you ask your benefit counselor to be sure.

filmfann's avatar

No degree.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Where are the scholarships coming from? That’s who sets the rules, after all.

If they are coming from the universities themselves, then it will depend on the school. Under the rules of my undergraduate institution, you would count as a first-generation college student. Under the rules of my graduate institution, you would not. Independent scholarships will have their own rules.

You can sometimes find the particular school’s definition by searching ”[school name] first generation student.” If you’re looking at independent scholarships, they typically spell out their eligibility requirements quite explicitly on their websites. If all else fails, call—do not e-mail—the university’s admissions department.

Fly's avatar

@SavoirFaire For the purposes of this question, I was referring to scholarships from the school. I have tried searching for the requirements as you suggested, but my searches have been unfruitful. I will continue to look, though, and I will call if necessary. Thanks for your help!

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
Dog's avatar

It is the college degree. Shoot for those scholarships! Also ask where to find scholarship listings and apply for as many as you remotely fit in. :D Trust me- I applied and GOT enough scholarships to get through college as a first generation. (Hint: Even apply for ones not in your ethnicity. I am Norwegian and got two scholarships for Latinas because they were only for a few hundred dollars and I was one of a few that applied)

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Fly You are quite welcome! If you really get nowhere with the school, just apply. Few schools will care about the difference between “no degree” and “no college at all.”

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