Creating New Possibilities for First-Gen Students

We spotted — and appreciated — this post from Bankrate, about the myriad ways that students who are the first in their families to attend college — “First Gen” students, perhaps along with their siblings — might make college a bit more attainable and affordable.

Indeed, we’re seeing suggestions novel and conventional pop up from everyone from lenders to colleges to actual students — suggestions as to how we can make college more attainable for all kinds of kids, including those who traditionally attend college at lower rates.

At Spotlight we’re taking this on from two angles, both related to closing the information gap that exists between students who are typically more and less likely to enroll in college.

First, we annually deliver the College and Career Readiness Guide to hundreds of thousands of students from dozens of districts, ranging from Los Angeles to Washington, DC. The “CCRG” compiles a student’s information to form a post-graduation profile, but also shows that student what’s possible — a higher level of aspiration — and even the specific steps they might take to reach that level.

Then, once students have applied to college and have been admitted, they might receive one of our personalized financial aid videos. These videos, produced in partnership with RNL, use rich animation and simple terms (in virtually any language) to explain the details of a financial aid award to a student and their parent. Instead of reading an award letter dense with financial jargon, a student watches a clearly-worded, even entertaining video on their mobile phone.

With Bankrate and many, many others, we’re happy to be part of a robust community of innovators seeking to do better for first-gen students.