By Janet Napolitano, contributor to the Huffington Post
August 23, 2017.
(Huffington Post) This week, the University of California will begin welcoming thousands of excited, ambitious and (even if they won’t admit it) nervous freshmen to our campuses. But, for many of our students, the first day of college brings more than just the usual jitters.
This fall, more than 30,000 students — 42 percent of UC’s incoming class — will come from families in which neither parent has a college degree. We know that these students often face unique challenges, including financial barriers and fewer people to turn to who can guide them through the tumultuous transition to college. One 2008 study found that nationwide just 11 percent of low-income first-generation students graduate with a college degree within six years.
That’s simply unacceptable. As a university system that tops national rankings for both excellence and serving large numbers of first-generation students, we’ve made it a priority to address this gap. We are implementing a range of strategies — from mentorship and community building to academic and financial support — to make sure these students have the resources they need.
Once first-generation students arrive on campus, hundreds of UC faculty and staff are making it their mission to let these students know they’re not alone.