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The First to Belong 

Liliana Rodriguez University of Denver Magazine
Posted January 22, 2018 by Dr. Liliana Rodriguez

I am a double first-generation scholar. By that I mean that I am of both the first generation in my family born in the U.S. and the first generation in my family to attend college. There was so much about academia I did not understand. For instance, I never notified my college that my only reliable parent had passed away after my first year. I never told my professors how it affected me to watch cancer attack my father's body. The fact that my financial aid package changed was the only indication of awareness I received from my college about my father's death.

Like many first-generation students, I believed I needed to make it on my own; that to ask for further support would only validate the sneaking suspicion I had that I didn't deserve to be there in the first place.

More than a quarter of college students today can relate to my experience. In the next two decades, at least 40 percent of college-seeking applicants will be first-generation, and most of them will be low-income. This will require significant changes to how universities support and educate students.  Read more...