For students aiming to be the first in their families to earn a college degree, there are many obstacles to getting into school — but the challenges don’t end when they arrive on campus. However, several groups are seeking to change that with mentoring and career development programs that specifically aim to help these students finish school.
Only 11 percent of first-generation, low-income college students graduate with a four-year degree, according to research from the Pell Institute, and first-generation students are twice as likely as those with parents who graduated from college to drop out of school. There are racial disparities to consider too, since Latinos represent the highest proportion of first-generation college students. African-American students are also overrepresented among the first-generation student population.
One group working to address this graduation gap is America Needs You, a New York-based nonprofit that provides mentoring and career development training for low-income first-generation college students.
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