First-Generation College Students

Over one third of students in U.S. higher education are the first in their families to go to college or first generation (FG). This growing demographic necessitates unpacking and understanding how this diverse group negotiates the academy, and how the academy cultivates relationships with these students, their families, and their communities. This entry addresses key aspects of FG students’ multiple identities with specific attention to how being FG affects students’ lived experiences in the academy. Further, it focuses on FG students’ intersecting identities and how their multiple positionalities are integral to investing in their success in college.

The term first generation as it pertains to college students has multiple definitions in the academic literature. This variance can be attributed to the fact that FG students cannot ...

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