A first-generation college student is a student whose parent(s) or legal guardian(s) have not completed a bachelor’s degree. This means that you are the first in your family to attend a four-year and to attain a bachelor’s degree.
In 2010, the percentage of first-generation students graduating within six years was 51.7%. Since then, there has been an increase in this number with 62.3% of first-generation students graduating within 6 years. As 50% of the student population at CSUMB are first-generation students, it is a great milestone for the university, but also for Monterey County. Of the total student population, 15% of them are local, first-generations students. Our local students are some of those who benefit from the efforts CSUMB has worked toward supporting.
Why it Matters
These students have a set of needs that often differ from their peers that are not first-generation students. First generation college students are often more likely to give up on their education. As the first to attend college, these students require the academic support that all students need, but there is also a need for personal guidance as well as a financial need.
CSUMB restructured their advising center, hiring more advisors so that their students could have an easier time scheduling an appointment to get the support they need for their academic success. The university also created a TRiO program, which is a program that offers resources and mentors to first-generation students so that they may find the support and guidance they may not otherwise have. In an effort to improve first-generation graduation rates, CSUMB is also working on diversifying their teaching staff as the university knows that students excel when their professors share their experiences.
CSUMB tracks their first-generation students from the year they enter and keep track of how many of them graduate each year.
The progress CSUMB has made with first-generation six year completion is impressive, but there are still plans within the university to continue to increase this percentage. Currently, Dr. Irwin identifies hiring more diverse faculty and staff as an in-progress method that will promote success in students. “We know that students are more likely to succeed when their professors and university staff resemble them and their experiences.”
There are also plans to purchase more of the required texts of various classes to have on Course Reserve in the library. This strategy aims to assist students who cannot always afford their textbooks, making college a little more accessible for them.