• A gold owl with Flying 1st written across its chest carries a Rowan scroll.


Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I am a first-generation college student? 

The formal definition of a first-generation college student is a student whose parents did not complete a four-year college degree. At Rowan, we think of it more as any student who may self-identify as not having prior exposure to or knowledge of navigating higher institutions such as Rowan and may need additional resources. For example, if a parent attended a four-year college in a different educational system outside of the United States; if a student has only had close contact to people with minimal college experience; if a student and/or parent feel that they are unfamiliar with college culture at Rowan - these are diverse ways in which students might identify with the first-generation identity.

Being first-gen may also have greater saliency for some students more than others and at different phases of their education - from a first-year undergraduate through the final stages of doctoral or medical education. First-gens are diverse in myriad ways and span socioeconomic classes, international, domestic, religions, races and ethnicities, sexual orientations, etc.

Why do these students struggle to access and complete college?

It is estimated that 30 percent of students enrolled in postsecondary institutions today are low income, first-generation college students. But 89% of these students will not earn a bachelor's degree six years out from high school. They drop out of college at four times the rate of their peers whose parents have a post-secondary education. There are myriad reasons that these students struggle to access and complete college. Namely, their parents lack the ability to guide them in the college process, having not navigated it themselves, and they are often in schools and communities where college counseling and college-minded peers are lacking or nonexistent. Academic preparation is sometimes another factor, but motivation to pursue college is not in question. Research shows that low-income, first-generation college students aspire to attend college at rates equal to their higher income peers whose parents have a college degree.

What does the First Generation Taskforce do?

The First-Generation Task Force at Rowan University aims to coordinate support for first-generation college students. The committee is committed to developing a sense of community for first-gen students on campus and help improve knowledge of and access to resources.  

What kind of support is available?

From the time of acceptance to life after Rowan, we aim to establish and continue contact with our first-gen community. Support services are available widely across campus and are linked through our Resources page.