The University of Cincinnati has opened a Gen-1 Theme House for first generation incoming students. The Gen-1 Theme house is designed to be “an anchor as the students learn to navigate the university and to be their own advocates.” Gen-1 not only provides support and direction for first generation college goers, it also provides an opportunity to increase graduation rates among first time college students. If Gen-1 house can increase the graduation rate for first generation college entrants, chances are good the idea will spread to other institutions around the country.
The New York Times has a nice overview of the innovative approach plus all the details related to policies and objectives.
The approach provides new opportunities for first generation Hispanic college students. More than two out of five Hispanic freshmen at four-year colleges are the first in their family to attend college (Schmidt, 2003). Hispanic first-generation students are likely to enter college with less academic preparation, and to have limited access to information about the college experience, either firsthand or from relatives (Thayer, 2000). Being exposed to the environment advocated by the Gen-1 idea could assist the retention rates of Hispanics and other minorities.
Schmidt, Peter. 2003. Academe’s Hispanic Future: The nation’s largest minority group faces big obstacles in higher education, and colleges struggle to find the right ways to help. The Chronicle of Higher Education, v. 50, Issue 14 (28 November): A8. http://chronicle.com
Thayer, Paul B. 2000. Retention of Students from First Generation and Low Income Backgrounds (ERIC ED446633). Opportunity Outlook (May), 2-8.