LEWISTON, Idaho – With 73 percent of its student body identified as first generation college students, Lewis-Clark State College administrators are excited to host the second annual First-Generation College Celebration on Nov. 8.
First generation college students are defined as those who parents did not complete a college bachelor’s degree. LCSC has approximately 2,700 first generation college students enrolled at both the LCSC Lewiston and Coeur d’Alene campuses as well as those taking classes online.
“We are proud of our commitment to serve and to make college accessible for first generation college students,” LCSC President Cynthia Pemberton said. “Our faculty and staff are committed and our programs are positioned to help students succeed.”
Along with a student-first approach, affordability is believed to be a contributing factor to LCSC's high first generation headcount, as the college offers the lowest tuition among Idaho’s public four-year institutions.
Although national statistics show first generation college students usually have a harder time earning a degree, LCSC has had more than 70 percent of its student population be first generation the past two years, and has seen a record number of students graduate for four straight years.
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.
Nov. 8 is the 53rd 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
Along with activities to recognize LCSC’s first generation population, the event will feature a panel discussion about first generation students at noon-1 p.m. in the TCC room inside the LCSC Library. The panelists include President Pemberton, Technical & Industrial Division chair Mark Smith, Dean of Professional Studies Fred Chilson, Humanities professor Renee Harris, and LCSC student senator Evelin Lopez.
The event is free and open to the public.
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 ones at LCSC, are federal outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for first generation, low-income and/or students with a disability.
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. TRIO Talent Search, a program at LCSC since 2006, is a pre-college program serving students in Lapwai, Orofino, Kamiah, Kooskia, and Timberline. The program serves 6th-12th grade students exposing them to college campuses as well as career exploration, college entrance exams and applications, and help completing the FAFSA.
Students, faculty and staff can call Traci Birdsell at ext. 2848 to pick up their first generation stickers to wear on Nov. 8. Stickers will also be available at the Student Union Building's information desk and at the residence halls.
For more information on the day, contact Traci Birdsell, director of TRIO programs at LCSC, at either [email protected] or 208-792-2848.