Education Department Releases Racial Data on First-Generation College Students

A new report from the U.S. Department of Education provide data on students who were the first in their families to enroll in college. The report found that among high school sophomores in 2002 who later went on to enroll at a postsecondary institution, 24 percent were first-generation college students. Ten years after they were sophomores in high school, a lower percentage of first-generation college students than continuing-generation students had obtained a bachelor’s degree. Only 20 percent of first-generation students had earned a bachelor’s degree compared to 42 percent of those students who were not the first in their families to attend college.

In the study, White Americans were 49 percent of first-generation college students but 70 percent of the college students who had at least one parent who had enrolled in college. Blacks were 14 percent of all first-generation students but 11 percent of continuing generation students. Hispanics were 27 percent of all first-generation students but only 9 percent of continuing generation students.

The full report, First-Generation and Continuing-Generation College Students: A Comparison of High School and Postsecondary Experiences, may be downloaded by clicking here.

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  1. Hi,
    My name is Shabelle Paulino. I am a senior at NYU studying psychology. I am currently working on a research paper based on first-generation college student. I was hoping I can get access to this data set?

    • I hope this is helpful and I hope you found it! But there is a place at the bottom of the info above that says click here to access the report, in case you didn’t see it! I hope your research goes well!!! 🙂

  2. Hello, my name is Sabrina Hammel. I am a doctoral candidate and writing my dissertation on first-generation Hispanic females, in Texas. Is it possible for me to get a copy of the data?

    Thank you,
    Sabrina Hammel

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