First Generation Students – Faculty Resources


It is estimated that 30 percent of students enrolled in postsecondary institutions today are low income, first-generation college students (FGS). But they drop out of college at four times the rate of their peers whose parents have a post-secondary education. Many FGS feel socially, ethnically, academically, and emotionally marginalized on campus.

There are myriad reasons that these students struggle to access and complete college:

  • Their parents lack the ability to guide them in the college process having not navigated it themselves. 
  • They reside in communities where college-minded peers are lacking or nonexistent. 
  • They often straddle different cultures between school and home. 
  • Academic preparation is sometimes another factor.

FGS are susceptible to doubts about their academic and motivational abilities, and may believe that they are not college material. Because of these numerous obstacles, and because they may have to manage the demands of family, and different cultures of home and college, first generation students may find it difficult to feel integrated socially and academically.

Because of these disparities, FGS frequently require additional campus support resources. Increased financial aid and loan-free aid packages to FGS are welcomed but do not fully address the diverse and complex challenges that these students experience. Responding to these complexities, it is hoped that this website’s information and resources will help LBCC administrators, faculty, and staff work better with FGS through more effective pedagogy and institutional programs.


Heritage University* faculty has created a new video series, through its Institute for Student Identity and Success, in order to help faculty and instructors better serve first-generation students in the classroom.  This series grew from the idea that students learn many of the practices and skills that lead to academic success subliminally, through socialization, rather than being directly told or taught them.  First-generation students, because they tend to be educated in schools and grow up in homes where such signaling may happen less, often come into college with fewer of those skills. 

Through a survey of students and in-depth interviews with the professors emerged a set of practices or theories that, validated by research in other settings, seemed to work with first-generation students and help them from feeling overwhelmed or discouraged. Each instructor then filmed a video describing the practice and how to implement it. The videos are all under five minutes.

Enjoy the excitement of real classroom faculty who are featured in these videos!  They’re leading first-generation college students to success and graduation!

A First Generation Students in the Classroom activity is available for six (6) hours of Flex credit.

*Heritage University was founded as a nonsectarian institution, not affiliated with any church or religious group.  A five-campus college located in the greater Seattle-Yakima, Washington area, it has cooperative agreements with a number of local community colleges.

More Resources

Tips for Faculty and Staff
References for Video Series
Additional References for Video Series

Audio Resources



  • The First Generation Student Experience: Implications for Campus Practice, and Strategies for Improving Persistence and Success, Davis, 2010, description
  • The Invisibility Factor: Administrators and Faculty Reach Out to First-Generation College Students, Housel & Harvey, 2010, description