College admissions recruiters learn to identify factors that may prevent students from enrolling in their institutions. This is especially important to the institution because it allows recruiters to provide feedback about what current students face upon entering colleges and universities across the nation. There are many student demographic changes facing the nation today, but one trend that affects many colleges and universities is the increased enrollment of first generation college students.
First generation college students can be found in almost every city across the nation, including Nashville, Tennessee and Lipscomb University. After spending five years recruiting Nashville students, first generation college students are a growing demographic for Lipscomb University. This case study addresses their individual needs and risk factors that may prevent them from succeeding in a college environment and suggests implementation of a first generation college student program at Lipscomb University. The case study also explores regional and local models for best practices of first generation college student programs and suggestions from current Lipscomb students.
The vision of the program is that successful first generation college students change their families and empower their communities. Lipscomb University will provide a program for first generation college students that supports and enhances their academic, social, and professional goals. The strategy will include helping first generation college students graduate from college and achieve their career goals. Because they pursue higher career goals, they will change their family dynamics and increase their ability to earn higher income. These students will become advocates to future college students and inspire them to pursue their college goals. Their success will be measured by increased retention, degree completion, and graduation rates at Lipscomb University. And Nashville will benefit from more informed graduates that give back and serve their community. This program will also provide measurable outcomes, which ensure its sustainability at the university and highlight the successes of the students.