Group of students smiling at camera

LCSC to honor its record number of first generation students on Wednesday

LEWISTON, Idaho – Lewis-Clark State College continues to pave the way for future generations to succeed thanks to another record number of first generation college students enrolled for the 2017 fall semester. LCSC plans to honor these students during its inaugural First-generation College Celebration on Wednesday, Nov. 8.

First generation college students, those whose parents did not complete a bachelor’s degree, continue to make up a huge part of LCSC’s enrollment and again set a record with 2,847 students or 76 percent of LCSC’s overall fall head count of 3,746. A year ago, first generation college students accounted for 68.4 percent of the college’s population.

Although national statistics show first generation college students usually have a harder time earning a degree, LCSC has continued to increase the number of first generation students and at the same time, has set a school record for the largest number of graduates for three straight years and in seven of the past nine years. Last May, LCSC had a record 817 graduates.

“LCSC successfully meets students where they are and guides them to where they want to go,” LCSC President J. Anthony (Tony) Fernandez said. “The success of our growing number of first generation students is a perfect example of that commitment.”

Overall, Lewis-Clark State College’s enrollment has grown 20 percent in the last 10 years and first generation students have played a major part.

“Our faculty and staff are committed to helping all of our students succeed,” said Andy Hanson, LCSC vice president for Student Affairs.  “We are proud to be home to so many first-generation students and even prouder of the success we enjoy in helping them earn a degree.”

The Nov. 8 event is sponsored by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), the Center for First-generation Student Success, and the American Association of Colleges & Universities. Along with activities to recognize LCSC’s first generation population, the event will feature a panel composed of school administrators, including Hanson, from noon to 1 p.m. in the Student Union Building, Room 143.

“LCSC, while always striving to improve our student experience and retention, is a first-generation friendly school with specific support services as well as faculty and staff who are interested in holistic student success,” said Traci Birdsell, director of TRIO programs at LCSC. “First-generation students should be celebrated for their initiative and courage to be the first ones in their family to possibly complete a bachelor’s degree.”

Nov. 8 is the 52nd anniversary of the Higher Education Act. The law, in part, increased federal money given to universities to create more student scholarships and provide students with financial assistance in postsecondary and higher education. For additional information about the national event, visit: http://coenet.org/first-generation.shtml

The concept of first generation students was introduced into federal policy by the TRIO community in 1980, during the passage of the Higher Education Amendments to the Higher Education Act. TRIO programs, like the one at LCSC, are federal outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. One of the eight targeted TRIO programs is first generation college students.

LCSC has had a TRIO program, called Student Support Services, for more than 25 years. It is aimed at helping students with academic tutoring, connecting them to a learning community, and counseling students about career development, graduate school, or with personal issues. The program also provides leadership and financial literacy training, academic advising and help with FAFSA and college scholarships.