National Summit to Address Inequalities Faced by First Gen College Students

Media Advisory

(downloadable PDF: First Gen 4.21.18 Natl Summit Media Advisory a15)

For Immediate Release

Contacts: Anne Phillips, anne@classism.org, 617.477.8635
Elena Marione, emarione@mtholyoke.edu, 413.538.3095

More than 250 college/graduate students to attend Class Action First Gen Summit on April 21, 2018
BOSTON, April 15, 2018: In less than a month, colleges and universities across the United States will confer more than four million college degrees.[i] But first generation college students will be woefully underrepresented in this group of graduates.

That is why more than 250 first generation college students and program administrators from 30 institutions of higher learning across the United States will take part in the Class Action 6th Annual First Generation College Student Summit. It will feature strategies and programs that are working to make campuses more welcoming for first generation college and graduate students, integrate their strengths into the fabric of institutions, and ensure successful outcomes and improve graduation rates for this group of students.

When: Sat., April 21, 9:30 am to 4:30 pm
Who:   Hosted by Class Action and Mount Holyoke; more than 250 students, faculty and advisors from 30+ institutions from across the U.S.
Co-Hosting Institutions: Amherst College, BOW OneGen (Babson, Olin and Wellesley Colleges), Bridgewater State, Five College Consortium, Hampshire College, Monmouth University, UMass University Without Walls, and Williams College.
Where: Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Mass.

The Issue: While 42% of students whose parents attended college graduate within four years, only 27% of first-generation (first gen) students graduate within four years. First gen students are often from lower socioeconomic class backgrounds and have challenges beyond a financial one, including arriving with little knowledge about what to expect or how to navigate their college experience.

This summit is not about “fixing” first gen students: It is instead a forum for these students to take the lead in creating programs and solutions, with the support of faculty and administrator allies, which transform today’s college campuses to better fit their needs.

Some of the first gen programs featured at this year’s summit were developed after college representatives attended an earlier Class Action First Gen Student Summit.

Interview Opportunities: Student leaders, administrators and faculty planners are available for interviews before the summit by contacting Denise Moorehead, dmmoorehead@gmail.com. Attendees will be available at the summit.

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[i] According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, there were approximately 4.5 million college degrees conferred in the U.S. in the 2016–17 academic year.