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To better serve first-generation students, expand the definition

The Hechinger Report

First-generation college student definition varies; federal definition is parent without bachelor’s degree. Critics argue it doesn’t consider single-parent households, foreign degrees, or absent educated parents. Common App research suggests expanded definition increases enrollment data, revealing more about college readiness. Data shows 450,000 applicants met federal definition in 2022, but including one-degree-holding parent raises number to 700,000. Definition affects college readiness, socioeconomic status, and application numbers. Diversity in applicants, home contexts, and hardships also important. Depending on definition, underrepresented minority group percentage varies between 45-58%, and low-income family students between 48-66%. Colleges often define first-generation students as those with parents without U.S. bachelor’s degrees. Purpose

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