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First-generation college students


This bibliography is a collaborative effort between the UC Santa Cruz First-Generation Initiative and the University Library's Undergraduate Experience Team. Special thanks to Assistant Professor Rebecca Covarrubias and 2017 Koret Scholar Andres Pinedo for their contributions.


These resources have been gathered for the edification of first-generation students and their families, and the faculty and staff who serve this community. They are books the University Library owns, and journals and other documents we either subscribe to or are available freely via Open Access venues. Anyone who is on campus can access these resources freely (wireless users, see "On-Campus Wifi Networks" box on the middle-right). Any UC Santa Cruz student, faculty, or staff member may also access these resources from off campus (see the "Off-Campus Options" box on the lower-right). First-generation family members and supporters who are not UC Santa Cruz students, faculty, or staff members will not have direct access to many of these sources. We encourage you to reach out to your local library. They may have access to many of these resources or may be able to borrow them for you through their Interlibrary Loan service.

The first-generation student experience

The cultural transition to college for first-generation college students

  • Kurotsuchi Inkelas, Karen, Zaneeta E. Daver, Kristen E. Vogt, and Jeannie Brown Leonard. "Living–Learning Programs and First-Generation College Students’ Academic and Social Transition to College." Research in Higher Education 48, no. 4 (2007): 403-434. University Library ejournal

  • Lubrano, Alfred. Limbo: Blue-Collar Roots, White-Collar Dreams. New York: Wiley, 2004. McHenry Stacks HN90.S6L83 2004

  • Monaghan, Peter. "A 'Hidden Curriculum' for Latino Students." Chronicle of Higher Education, December 16, 2918.

  • Reyes, Daisy Verduzco. Learning to be Latino: How Colleges Shape Identity Politics. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 2018. McHenry Stacks LC2670.6.R49 2018

Recommendations for improving the first-generation college experience

  • Langhout, R.D. and D. L. Gordon. "Outcomes for underrepresented and misrepresented college students in service learning classes: Supporting agents of change." Journal of Diversity in Higher Education (2019). University Library ejournal

  • Oldfield, Kenneth. "Humble and hopeful: Welcoming first-generation poor and working-class students to college." About Campus 11, no. 6 (2007): 2-12 University Library ejournal

  • Oldfield, Kenneth. "Still humble and hopeful: Two more recommendations on welcoming poor and working-class students to college." About Campus 17, no. 5 (2012): 2-13. University Library ejournal

Psychological interventions for improving the first-generation college experience

  • Clauss-Ehlers, Caroline S. and Connie R. Wibrowski. "Building Educational Resilience and Social Support: The Effects of the Educational Opportunity Fund Program Among First- and Second-Generation College Students." Journal of College Student Development 48, no. 5 (2007): 574-584. University Library ejournal

  • Covarrubias, Rebecca, Isidro Landa, and Ronald Gallimore. “Developing a Family Achievement Guilt Scale Grounded in First-Generation College Student Voices.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 46, no. 11 (November 2020): 1553–66. University Library ejournal

  • Folger, Wendy A., Joyce A. Carter, and Patricia B. Chase. "Supporting First Generation College Freshmen with Small Group Intervention." College Student Journal 38, no. 3 (2004): 472-475. University Library ejournal

  • Harackiewicz, J. M., E. A. Canning, Y. Tibbets, C. J. Giffen, S. S. Blair, D. I. Rouse, and J. S. Hyde. "Closing the social class achievement gap for first-generation students in undergraduate biology." Journal of Educational Psychology 106, no. 2 (2014): 375-398. PubMed Open Access

  • Stephens, Nicole M., Stephanie A., Fryberg, Hazel Rose Markus, Camille S. Johnson, and Rebecca Covarrubias. "Unseen disadvantage: How American universities' focus on independence undermines the academic performance of first-generation college students." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 102, no. 6 (2012): 1178-1197. University Library ejournal

  • Stephens, Nicole M., G. MarYam, and Mesmin Destin Hamedani. "Closing the Social Achievement Gap: A Difference-Education Intervention Improves First-Generation Students' Academic Performance and All Students' College Transition." Psychological Science 25, no. 4 (2014): 943-953. University Library ejournal

  • Stephens, Nicole M., Sarah S. M. Townsend, Hazel Rose Markus, and L. Taylor Phillips. "A Cultural mismatch: Independent cultural norms produce greater increases in cortisol and more negative emotions among first-generation college students." Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 48, no. 6 (2012): 1389-1993. University Library ejournal 

First-generation student persistence and success

  • Azmitia, M., Sumabat‐Estrada, G., Cheong, Y., & Covarrubias, R. (2018).  “Dropping out is not an option”: How educationally resilient first‐generation students see the future. In C. R. Cooper & R. Seginer (Eds.), Navigating Pathways in Multicultural Nations: Identities, Future Orientation, Schooling, and Careers. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 160, 89– 100. University Library ejournal

  • Covarrubias, R., Gallimore, R. and Okagaki, L. (2018) ‘“I Know That I Should Be Here”: Lessons Learned From the First-Year Performance of Borderline University Applicants’, Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, 20(1), pp. 92–115. University Library ejournal

  • Covarrubias, Rebecca, James Jones, and Rosalind Johnson. “Exploring the Links Between Parent–Student Conversations About College, Academic Self-Concepts, and Grades for First-Generation College Students.” Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice 22, no. 3 (November 2020): 464–80. University Library ejournal

  • Davis, Jeff. The First-Generation Student Experience: Implications for Campus Practice, and Strategies for Improving Persistence and Success. Sterling, VA: Stylus, 2010. University Library ebook

  • Dennis, Jessica M., Jeanne S. Phinney, and Lizette Ivy Chuateco. “The Role of Motivation, Parental Support, and Peer Support in the Academic Success of Ethnic Minority First-Generation College Students.” Journal of College Student Development 46, no. 3 (2005): 223-236. University Library ejournal

  • Engle, Jennifer, Adolfo Bermeo, and Colleen T. O’Brien. Straight from the Source: What Works for First-Generation College Students. Washington, DC: Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, 2006.

  • Engle, Jennifer, and Vincent Tinto. Moving Beyond Access: College Success for Low-Income, First-Generation Students. Washington, DC: Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, 2008.

  • Hausmann, Leslie R. M., Janet Ward Schofield, and Rochelle L. Woods. “Sense of Belonging as a Predictor of Intentions to Persist Among African American and White First-Year College Students.” Research in Higher Education 48, no. 7 (2007): 803-839. University Library ejournal

  • Ishitani, Terry T. "Studying Attrition and Degree Completion Behavior among First-Generation College Students in the United States." Journal of Higher Education 77, no. 5 (2006): 861-885. University Library ejournal

  • Jassal, Parminder K. Predicting First Generation College Student Success: Using Noel-Levitz CSI-B©: Impact of Parental Educational Attainment on Student Retention after First Year of College & Four Year Graduation Rate at Institution of Matriculation. Saarbrücken, Germany: VDM Verlag, 2008. McHenry Stacks LC3745.J375 2008

  • Jehangir, Rashné R. Higher Education and First-Generation Students: Cultivating Community, Voice and Place for the New Majority. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. McHenry Stacks LC4069.6.J44 2010

  • Jehangir, Rashné, Rhiannon Williams, and Judith Jeske. "The Influence of Multicultural Learning Communities on the Intrapersonal Development of First-Generation College Students." Journal of College Student Development 53, no. 2 (2012): 267-284. University Library ejournal 

  • Macias, Louis V. “Choosing Success: A Paradigm for Empowering First-Generation College Students.” About Campus 18, no. 5 (2013): 17-21. University Library ejournal

  • Martin Lohfink, Mandy, and Michael B. Paulson. “Comparing the Determinants of Persistence for First-Generation and Continuing-Generation Students.” Journal of College Student Development   46, no. 4 (2005): 409-428. University Library ejournal

  • Martinez, Julia A., Kenneth J. Sher, Jennifer L. Krull, and Phillip K. Wood. “Blue-Collar Scholars? Mediators and Moderators of University Attrition in First-Generation College Students.” Journal of College Student Development 50, no. 1 (2009): 87-103. University Library ejournal

  • Nuñez, Anne-Marie. “Counterspaces and Connections in College Transitions: First-Generation Latino Students' Perspectives on Chicano Studies.” Journal of College Student Development 52, no. 6 (2011): 639-655. University Library ejournal

  • Padgett, Ryan D. Megan P. Johnson, and Ernest T. Pascarella. “First-Generation Undergraduate Students and the Impacts of the First Year of College: Additional Evidence.” Journal of College Student Development 53, no. 2 (2012): 243-266. University Library ejournal

  • Provitera-McGlynn, Angela. Envisioning Equity: Educating and Graduating Low-Income, First-Generation, and Minority College Students. Madison, WI: Atwood, 2011. McHenry Stacks LC1039.5.P76 2011

  • U.S. Congress. House of Representatives. United States. Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training of the Committee on Education and the Workforce. Keeping College Within Reach: Sharing Best Practices for Serving Low-Income and First Generation Students. 113th Cong., 2nd sess., January 28, 2014.

  • Vasquez-Salgado, Yolanda, Patricia M. Greenfield, and Rocio Burgos-Cienfuegos. "Exploring Home-School Value Conflicts: Implications for Academic Achievement and Well-Being Among Latino First-Generation College Students." Journal of Adolescent Research 30, no. 3 (2014): 271-305. University Library ejournal

  • Warburton, Edward C., Rosio Bugarin, Anne-Marie Nuñez, and C. Dennis Carroll. Bridging the Gap: Academic Preparation and Postsecondary Success of First-Generation Students. NCES 2001-153. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education, 2001.

  • Ward, Lee, Michael J. Siegel, and Zebulun Davenport. First-Generation College Students: Understanding and Improving the Experience from Recruitment to Commencement. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2012. University Library ebook

First-generation students and faculty

  • Collier, Peter J., and David L. Morgan. “ʻIs that Paper Really Due Today?’: Differences in First-Generation and Traditional College Students’ Understandings of Faculty Expectations.” Higher Education 55, no. 4 (2008): 425-446. University Library ejournal​

  • Harvey, Vicky L. and Teresa Heinz Housel. Faculty and First-Generation College Students: Bridging the Classroom Gap Together. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2011. University Library ebook

  • ​Kim, Young K., and Linda J. Sax. “Student–Faculty Interaction in Research Universities: Differences by Student Gender, Race, Social Class, and First-Generation Status.” Research in Higher Education 50, no. 5 (2009): 437-459. University Library ejournal​

First-generation students and academic libraries

  • Brinkman, Stacy, Katie Gibson, and Jenny Presnell. “When the Helicopters are Silent: The Information Seeking Strategies of First-Generation College Students.” Paper presented at the Association of College and Research Libraries Conference, Indianapolis, IN, April 10–13, 2013. Conference Proceedings

  • Firouzeh, Logan, and Elizabeth Pickard. “First-Generation College Students: A Sketch of their Research Process.” In College Libraries and Student Culture: What We Now Know, edited by Lynda M. Duke and Andrew D. Asher, 109-125. Chicago: American Library Association, 2012. University Library ebook

  • Neurohr, Karen A. and Lucy E. Bailey. “First-Generation Undergraduate Students and Library Spaces: A Case Study.” In Assessing Library Space for Learning, edited by Susan E. Montgomery, 167-182. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2017. McHenry Stacks Z679.55.A87 2017

  • Tyckoson, David A. “Library Service for the First-Generation College Student.” In Teaching the New Library to Today’s Users: Reaching International, Minority, Senior Citizens, Gay/Lesbian, First Generation, At-Risk, Graduate and Returning Students, and Distance Learners, edited by Trudi E. Jacobson and Helene C. Williams, 89-105. New York: Neal-Schuman, 2000. McHenry Stacks Z711.2.T43 2000


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