First-generation students can come from families with low incomes or from middle or higher income families without a college-going tradition. Some have parents who support their plans for higher education; others are under family pressure to enter the workforce right after high school.
Who are first-generation students?
Often these students don't know what their options are regarding higher education, and they may have fears about going to college and misconceptions about college and its costs. These students may come from families who speak languages other than English at home or from cultures outside the United States with different education systems.
Being a first-generation student can feel isolating, but at UW-Eau Claire they are not alone. UW-Eau Claire’s first-generation students and graduates come from a variety of urban and rural backgrounds, as well as different socioeconomic situations. A total of 25% of incoming Blugold freshmen are the first in their families to attend college, and 28% of all Blugolds on campus are first-generation students. We aim to support and celebrate our students for their incredible accomplishments, including attending a four-year university!
Blugolds are fortunate they don’t have to look far on campus to find role models who have successfully navigated the often-difficult journey of first-generation students. Many of their professors and campus leaders also were the first in their families to earn four-year degrees.
Charlie and Lucy Bauer are matching the first $1,000 in donations to the First Generation Scholarship to support students who are the first in their families to pursue a college education. The extra scholarship support for students who don't necessarily have the experience of their family members to rely on can make a tremendous difference in retaining them until they earn their undergraduate degree!