New Task For Colleges: Educating ‘First-Gens’

Career College Central summary:

  • Colleges are reaching out to students known as "first-gens" — the first generation in their families to go to college.
  • At LaGuardia Community College in New York, many of these students take remedial courses to get them ready for the college-level classes the school offers. LaGuardia President Gail Mellow says that 90 percent of the students who enroll at LaGuardia need some form of catch-up. About 90 percent of them are minorities. Many of them didn't finish high school and are enrolled courtesy of a GED diploma.
  • At Franklin & Marshall College, which is an elite, liberal arts institution in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, president Daniel Porterfield searches out Pell Grant-eligible students and minorities who can succeed there. These kids have academic ability, but they may need help with everything from traveling to and from the rural college on breaks to coping with being away from home for the first time.
  • The White House has its own program in the works to address to help students get a first shot at college. White House Domestic Policy Director Cecelia Munoz says the Education Department's new college ranking system, slated to be up and running by the 2015-2016 school year, will judge colleges based on how accessible they are to a range of students and whether those students finish and can pay back their loans on time. The ranking system is deliberately designed to compete with the college rankings of U.S. News and World Report, which place a premium on selectivity. Munoz says that's the wrong way to look at colleges.

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