Frequently Asked Questions

Here you will find a list of our frequently asked questions about this upcoming summer. This page will continue to be updated as more information becomes available.

Questions for Students

What programs are available for first-generation students at Purdue?

Purdue has many programs for first-generation students. The two primary programs are Horizons and Purdue Promise. We encourage all incoming students to research and apply for the program which is right for them.

Who qualifies as a first-generation student?

A first-generation college student is defined as a student whose parent(s) have not completed a bachelor's degree. This means that you are the first person in your family to attend a four-year college/university to attain a bachelor's degree.

Who can I contact if I have questions about being a first-generation student at Purdue?

There are many places/people who can help you with various questions about being first-generation at Purdue. Among them are Baraka Corley, director of the Horizons TRIO program, and Dennis Bowling, Assistant Director of Student Success Programs.

What is life like for first-generation students after college?

As of academic year 2015-16, 66% of first-generation college students and 61% of continuing-generation college students were employed in a paid job, internship, or work-study award.

Questions for Faculty

Why focus on first-generation students?

The term “first-generation” implies the possibility that a student may lack the critical cultural capital necessary for college success because their parents or guardian(s) did not attend college. While first-generation students are often quite academically skilled and contribute in many ways to a campus community, navigating the tangled web of college policies, procedures, jargon, and expectations can be a challenge. This pervasive “hidden curriculum” can damage the confidence of first-generation students, lead to struggles in belonging, and result in departure. This opens an opportunity for institutions to provide additional support for these students so they may be as competitive and successful as their peers.

What are the graduation rates of first-generation students?

Six years after first entering postsecondary education, 56% of first-generation college students and 40% of continuing- generation students had not earned any postsecondary credential, according to national data.

Do first-generation students utilize campus resources?

Nationally, in their first year in postsecondary education, a higher percentage of first-generation than continuing-generation students used financial aid services, but lower percentages used health, academic advising, and academic support services.

Why do we celebrate first-generation students on November 8th?

The date for the annual National First-Generation College Celebration is November 8, to honor the anniversary of the signing of the Higher Education Act of 1965. Much like other hallmark legislation of that era, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, HEA was intended to help level a playing field that for too long had been weighed against Americans from minority and low-income backgrounds. In addition to creating federal grants and loan programs to help students finance their educations, the legislation made key investments in institutions of higher education.

Where can I learn more about first-generation students?

The Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA (The National Association of Student Personnel Administrators) and The Suder Foundation, is the premier source of evidence-based practices, professional development, and knowledge creation for the higher education community to advance the success of first-generation students. Their website provides context for the current state of first-generation student success, shares current conversations and scholarly literature, offers access to programs and services, and highlights opportunities for engagement with the Center and committed colleagues.

Other Questions

How many students are considered first-generation?

As of academic year 2015-16, 56% of undergraduates nationally were first-generation college students (neither parent had a bachelor’s degree), and 59% of these students were also the first sibling in their family to go to college.

What is 'First-gen Forward?'

First-Gen Forward is 'a recognition program for higher education institutions committed to first generation student success. Purdue University was in the inaugural cohort of First-gen Forward institutions. For more info, visit the First-gen Forward website.