First-Generation College Students Commit to their Futures

A group of SRA students and their advisors celebrating College Signing Day.

While U.S. college degree attainment has increased to an all-time high of 46% nationwide, serious opportunity gaps for first-generation college students from underserved communities still remain. On average, 65% of low-income youth graduate from high school and 45% will enroll in college, but only 11% will complete postsecondary degrees. (National Educational Longitudinal Study).

First-generation college students face multiple barriers to college access and completion – financial constraints, limited knowledge of how to navigate the college and financial aid application process, and community or family stresses keep many qualified low-income high school graduates from pursuing or completing college. And while a college education is increasingly important in today’s knowledge-based economy, academic acumen alone does not always lead to successful employment. Lack of social capital can create a crucial gap in one’s employability.

Students Rising Above works to close these gaps and helps students break the cycle of poverty and achieve their college and career dreams. With SRA’s support, 91% of our students graduate from college in 5 years or less (eight times the national average) with little to no student loan debt and 88% are entering career-ladder positions or grad school within 12 months post-graduation. The success of SRA Alumni proves that when we invest in our students’ vast potential, the benefits are real, measurable, and widespread.

In celebration of College Signing Day, we are thrilled to share that 100% of our 75 Rising Stars High School seniors have committed to attend college this fall. They will matriculate at over 30 colleges and universities across the country, including Connecticut College, Davidson College, Duke University, Oberlin College, Pitzer College, Sonoma State University, Swarthmore College, UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Merced, University of Pennsylvania, Wesleyan University, Williams College, and Yale University.

As our 75 Rising Stars High School seniors prepare for their college-to-career journey, we’re beyond proud of our 93 upcoming college graduates, a majority of whom will be the first in their families to complete their postsecondary degree this spring and enter into the workforce. We are here for our students every step of the way – and applaud all first-generation college students across the country!