Sabria Hall

English 1102-Weaver

May 1st 2021

The Experience of  First Generation Working Class Black Women in College

Williams Qua’Aisa et al. “Exploring Black Girl Magic: Identity Development of Black First-Gen College Women.” Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, Oct.2020

Lewis J,Mendenhall,R Harwood,S & Bowne Huntt,M (2013) Coping with Gendered Racial Microaggression among Black Women College Students. Journal of African American Studies

Research Paper: The Use and Acknowledgement of the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement

Ellie Hegwood

English 1102 Weaver

Research Paper

30 April 2021

The Use and Acknowledgement of the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement

            The National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement or NSLVE for short is a database that allows for Universities to have access to their data on their campuses voting tendencies and provided information to participating schools on political climate and student voting habits. As well, the service provides information on the engagement of college students in voting and their participation in democracy. The NSLVE is mentioned in the article, “Student Parent Voices Are Critical to Colleges Civic Engagement Plans” by Nicole Lynn Lewis in which she describes the benefits this data collection can have for keeping track and providing demographic data on student’s race, age, sex and area of study collected from free reports of voter turnout and voter registration data provided by the NSLVE to participating universities. The National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement is a valuable resource used by colleges across the country to raise awareness for voter turnout and democratic involvement as well as provide free statistical reports to campuses to allow for appropriate engagement of their student body in this attempt to answer the call for an increase in civic learning.

            The National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement was launched in 2013 by Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University. For this reason, Tufts University is regarded as the place to gather the most information on the process of NSLVE  and what it stands for. Being that the service is still under ten years old and highly centered around elections and voting data there is still a growing amount of information to be spread and gained through the NSLVE as well as there still being a significant lack of knowledge that this program even exists. To date there are one thousand two hundred participating campuses in the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement program, with this including colleges from all fifty states. The involvement in this program is something colleges may be all too familiar with, even when the general public is still in the dark about it. The largest part of where the NSLVE comes from is the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education, or IDHE, at Tisch College who is responsible for the awareness, information, and coordination of the NLVE. Providing guides to universities on how to be involved and even assisting in guiding colleges in their own self studies, IDHE has become the foundational place for all things political statistics when it comes to college students.

Apart from the statistical data on campus voting rates and registrations that NSLVE brings provides to universities such as Cornell University and Baylor University, IDHE at Tisch College also founded a program known as Politics 365 in which they study “qualitative research to examine the campus climates and institutional characteristics that lead some colleges and universities to have higher than expected political participation,” (Tisch College Website, Politics 365). A study done in 2017 by Nancy Thomas and Margaret Brower is one of the most informative pieces on what the qualitative study of a campuses political climate can look like and be attributed to as they narrowed it down to five characteristics from this study as being social cohesion, compositional diversity, social mobility and equal opportunity, pervasive habits of political discussion, and student political actions. The impacts of this study, the use of Politics 365, and the benefit of NSLVE all center back around on that of a campus’s interest in their student population regarding civic engagement. The focus of NSLVE is to provide information on voting rates including registration and voter turnout on college campuses as a way to evaluate the engagement in democracy, public policy, civic involvement, and social action in a targeted demographic of the population. The National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement accomplishes all of this while also maintaining a free and easy to use system and emphasizing the protection of student privacy.

The history and eventual founding of the NSLVE can be dated back to 2012 when the government, or more specifically the United States Department of Education issued a call to action as the call it for the advancement of education on civic involvement and the incorporation of experiences to spread a greater knowledge of ways to be involved in democracy and social action or change. An ironic twist to this road map laid out in 2012 can be seen in November of this past year where the statistics of the 2020 election show a surge in youth voter turnout, higher than it had ever been in previous years. Increasing from between 42% to 44% turnout for eighteen to twenty-nine year old Americans in 2016 to between 52% to 55% turnout for eighteen to twenty-nine years old’s in 2020 according to data from CIRCLE at Tufts College.

Whether this increase in youth voter turnout is linked to a call to action for civic learning or the effects of a global pandemic and a need for social action, there is one certified system that can be counted on to collect the data. The National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement works to provide what has become vital information in a time that is so desperate for social change. Working to record data and represent student political climates is a tool that can go unrecognized despite its usefulness. Focusing on change and education while protecting student privacy makes the NSLVE stand out, and are reasons why it is worth learning about and why it will continue to grow beyond the one thousand and two hundred schools and ten million students that it already supports.

What are some of the main problems that students have for housing in this pandemic?

Daniel Gonzalez


Professor weaver

29 April 2021

Major project 4


Education is one of the main aspects of every young adult in the process of growing in to a adult, but one of the main of the problems that are “common” in young adults is that the change from going from young adult to a adult it has some step that the colleges or university helps to overcome in the economic level and in the skill level, however in this pandemic this types of help are no longer given or they now have some type of restrictions that are affecting the students in various ways, and the of the the biggest problem now is the housing system is changing in colleges because of the pandemic.


When you hear about the pandemic and the effect that is having in colleges and university you think about what the students are learning or that if they even learning something or that if this affects their communication and teamwork skill that you learn in college, but no many people know that this pandemic is affecting more the life of the students other then just learning. one of the problem is that many students are being asked to leave campus, move out of their dorms and to go back home to finish their studies, in the article “Pivot to Online: A Student Guide”  by Sean Michael Morris show a survey that says “according to the Hope Center’s National #RealCollege Survey, out of 86,000 students surveyed, 56% were housing insecure in the previous year, and 17% were homeless”(Morris 1). And this is just one of the problems for housing students.  another problem that is relate to the housing problem is in the LGBTQ students, in Morris article it show  “A similar survey by the Wisconsin Hope Lab in 2015 found that LGBTQ students who responded to the survey “faced higher risks of basic need insecurity compared to heterosexual students,” some of which may be linked to lower levels of family support.” (Morris 1). This shows that even if you have a home to come back to that doesn’t mean that you will get the support of that household.

One of the other problems of housing in colleges in pandemic is how housing insecurity is affecting the academic level. College itself can be stressful and students are trying to navigate the many academic, social, financial, and psychological stressors that come with adjusting to the academic life. Housing insecurity is a stress that can have an extraordinary impact in their college goal and life. In the blog “COVID-19 Worsens Housing Insecurity for College Students” by Ciera Graham show that “According to a 2019 report from The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice, nearly 3 in 5 students experienced housing insecurity the previous year, and almost half of students at two-year institutions experienced food insecurity in the past 30 days. Moreover, 18% of two-year college students and 14% of four-year students reported experiencing homelessness.”(Graham 1). On the other hand at the start of the pandemic all colleges and universities start to close temporarily the services that college gives you like residence hall, dining halls, and student employingment. This affects students that depend on these services for survival. Without these services many students are jobless and with something to eat. In the article “For many college students, pandemic life is disappointing. For others, it is a financial crisis.” by Stephanie Saul it says that “Students at 130 two-year colleges and 72 four-year colleges responded to the survey. Among its findings: One in three students reported that they lost jobs because of the pandemic. A large number of students — over two in five at two-year colleges and near a third at four-year colleges — worried about food running out before they had money to buy more.” (Saul 1).with this showing that every service that college is giving thanks to the pandemic some student is suffering because they now have some financial support to pay for food or housing.

One of the last problems of housing in pandemic is that even if students can by homeless for one day or less is till unacceptable and can have very dangerous situation and not just because of the pandemic in the article “Ensuring Homeless Students Are Seen During a Pandemic” by Sarah D. Sparks is saying that in Washington state where the first cases of coronavirus cases were detected in the country last January school and emergency shelters shut down at the same time. And that “The simultaneous closing of two safe havens for homeless students and their families portended a looming disaster for those already struggling with housing insecurity.” (Sparks 1). And even as in the article of Sarah sparks, the coordinator of the homeless Kids in Transition program for the 20,000-student Everett school district say “The temperatures at night were freezing—17 or 18 degrees [Fahrenheit]—and I was getting called about families who were sleeping in their car because the hotel wouldn’t rent to them because they were coughing” (Sparks 1). This can be a traumatic memory to the college students and cna affect their mental and physical health because of the necessity of housing. So, what can be done? There are probably some temporary solutions that can help students with the housing problems but in the long term probably the best option is to wait for the situation to get better and try to get yourself out of the citation with the help of other services.

Work cited

Saul, Stephanie. “For Many College Students, Pandemic Life Is Disappointing. For Others, It Is a Financial Crisis.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 1 Apr. 2021,

Sean Michael Morris. “Pivot to Online: A Student Guide.” Sean Michael Morris, Sean Michael Morris, 14 Apr. 2020,

Sparks, Sarah D. “Ensuring Homeless Students Are Seen During a Pandemic.” EWeek Leaders To Learn From, EWeek Leaders To Learn From, 6 Mar. 2021,

Writers, Staff. “COVID-19 Worsens Housing Insecurity for Students: Best Colleges.”,, 30 Sept. 2020, 


Should Colleges Provide More Resources for First Generation Student?

By definition, first-generation students are the first in their families to attend college. This means that their parents neither attended college nor received a college degree. In 2010 alone, there were almost 4.5 million first-gen students enrolled in universities across America, and now, there are approximately 11.2 million first-gen students enrolled in college (Schelbe, 2019). Although first-gen students make up more than fifty percent of college students, they are 8.5 times more likely to drop out during their first four years due to the feeling of isolation and a lack of support (Schelbe, 2019). Demonstrating that getting into college is not the only struggle for first gens but staying in is the real challenge. With that being said, should colleges provide more resources to first-gen students apart from scholarships and loans, to help them better succeed? Or are student loans and scholarships enough? Keep in mind the class reading during this course such as “Taking My Parents to College” by Jennine Capo and “I’m Was a Low-Income College Student. College Weren’t the Hard Part” by Anthony Abraham Jack. This topic is important to discuss because first-gen students make up at least half of the population of every given campus yet they are the most at risk of dropping out. This needs to change and it starts here with us.

When first-generation students make the transition from high school to higher education, they are instantly at a disadvantage compared to their peers. For instance, first-gen students have a greater need for money. The author of “Supporting First-Generation Students”, Alecea Standlee, explains in her article that the difficulties of first-gen students are much greater because they work considerable hours to provide money not only for themselves but to support their families. On top of job dedications, first-gen students commonly have significant responsibilities when it comes to their families and remains deeply connected to problems happening at home despite being at college. With this mixture of employment and family commitments, first-generation students are at academic risk before their first month at school. Yet these are not the only challenges that get in the way of first generational success. First gens have neither experience nor exposure to college life, consequently, they have no clue of their new role as a college student and are completely unaware of college norms. For many first-gen students, college becomes an awful guessing game that one hopes to get right in the end. Ultimately, first-gen students need more than scholarships and loans to succeed in college. In reality, they need social support, academic preparation, and connections to adequate resources to make it through the full four years. According to, “First Generation College Students’ Perceptions of an Academic Retention Program”, by Lisa Schelbe, “they (first-gen students) lack familial history or knowledge on which they can draw for support as they move through college” (Schelbe, 2019). In this quote, Arch and Gilman tell their readers that first-gen students don’t have enough knowledge nor support at home about college life. Unlike continuous generation students, first-gen students don’t have the luxury of getting previous information about college from their parents because they’ve never had that experience. Inevitably, first-generation students feel pressured to figure it out on their own which is ultimately detrimental to the student. Thus, first-gen students require social support when making the transition from high school to college.  Since first-gen students have less knowledge about college than their peers, they need extra support from students and administrators. This could come through mentors, seminars, webinars, campus buddies, etc. If colleges can effectively connect first-gen students with mentors that could pour experience, knowledge, and encouragement into them, first-gen students would be more likely to stay and finish college. Fundamentally, first-gen students need to know they are not alone and desire to be surrounded by people that can understand and appreciate their background. By establishing social support structures for them, institutions would be taking a step in the right direction.  

Apart from support, first-gen students would greatly benefit from more preparation when entering college. Based on the information provided by Xan Arch and Isaac Gilman in Designing Services for First-Generation Students, many first generational struggles are rooted from a lack of preparation (Arch, 2019).  Therefore, providing them with as much preparation as possible is a necessary form of action for institutions to take. Universities could do this through preparation programmers, however, “first-generation students are less likely to engage in college groups and organizations “ (Arch, 2019 ). Thus, colleges need curriculum courses (specifically for first-gen students) that teach all the preparation skills one would need through college. Lastly, first-gen students require connections with adequate resources to be confident and comfortable in school. Most of the resources first-gen students need are there but accessing them can be difficult for them since there are so many things competing for their attention. As a result, they need exposure to resources such as counseling services, financial aid offices, and academic advising in the early stages of their college career. This will greatly assist first-gen students when it comes to finding aid on campus. 

Being a first-generation, anything is difficult. They must be brave to face the adversity set before them and strength to rise above the loneliness that surrounds them. The struggles that first-gen students are not light and should never be overlooked. In reality, they don’t have to pursue higher education, at any moment they could quit school, work full time and no one would blame them. However, first-gen students make the decision every day to break the trend of their family members and reach for something bigger. Simply their resilience and dedication is something truly admirable. If one wishes to read more information about first-gen students “Supporting First-Generation Students” by Arelis Benitez was a great article about the ways communities can help when supporting first-gen students. Also, “Online Guide for First-Generation College Students” by Alecea Standlee is an excellent read for first-gen students themselves that want to ensure they are staying relevant on their resources and knowledge.

Work Cited: 

Arch, Xan, and Isaac Gilman. “First Principles: Designing Services for First- Generation

           Students.” College &Research Libraries, vol. 80, no. 7, Nov. 2019, pp. 996–1012.


          AN=1395784 8&site=eds-live&scope=site.

“Crlt.” CRLT,

UNC-Chapel Hill RECEIVES National Recognition for Supporting First-Generation Students. 17 Feb. 2020,


Standlee, A. (2019, April 11). Inside higher ed. Retrieved April 29, 2021, from generation-college-students-succeed-opinion

Schelbe, Lisa et al. “First Generation College Students’ Perceptions of an Academic Retention Program.” Journal of the Scholarship of

         Teaching and Learning, vol. 19, no. 5, Dec. 2019. EBSCOhost, doi:10.14434/josotl.v19i5.24300.


Why is Student Debt Such a Problem in the U.S.?

Why is Student Debt a Major Problem in the United States?

            Student debt is a quite common problem right now within the United States. Jannine Crucet wrote an article talking about her college experience. In Crucet’s article Taking My Parents to College, she talked about when she signed up for student loans. Crucet said, “Aside from a check-in with my financial aid officer when she explained what work-study was (I didn’t know and worried it meant I had to join the army or something) and where she had me sign for my loans, I was mostly keeping to myself to hide the fact that I was a very special kind of lost.” (Crucet). What Crucet mentioned is most likely relatable to a lot of college students in the U.S. right now, as we are in a student debt crisis. There are a lot of reasons as to why student debt became such an issue and how it is a problem now, but there are also things that can be done to fix it.

            Our country’s (the United States of America) history plays a big role on how student debt came about. Around the time period of 1890-1940 the only people who really went to college were people who were wealthy or wanted a religious education. Then over the years as time changed more and more people wanted to expand their education so colleges became open to a larger part of the population. Abigail Hess from CNBC Make It wrote an article where CNBC interviewed students, borrowers, historians, and experts to find out how student debt became a crisis in the United States. According to CNBC Make It in the late 1960s, “education costs were low and college enrollment grew; so did the U.S. economy.” (Hess). Colleges could have low tuition costs due to efficient government funding. Problems did not start until the Regan Era in the 1980s. CNBC Make It stated that “Reagan cut higher education funding and student aid, and college costs boomed as a result.” (Hess). This is saying that due to the tax revolt, state governments had to cut education funding. In order for colleges to stay open they had to increase tuition prices. Tuition prices have only gone up since then. CNBC Make It says the College Board said that “during the 1980-1981 school year, on average, it cost students the modern equivalent of $17,410 to attend a private college and $7,900 to attend a public college — including tuition, fees, room and board.” (Hess). In 2020 the average cost of tuition, room and board, and fees was said to be around $21,950 for in-state, and $38,330 for out-of-state. The high cost of college leads to many people obtaining a lot of student debt.

            According to the Journal of Literacy and Technology “Almost 45 million Americans hold student debt, which totals to an astronomical $1.64 trillion.” (Rubin, Alexanyan pg. 3). Around 66% of people who graduated from public colleges had an average debt of $25,550. The 75% percent of people who graduated from private, none-profit college had an average debt of $32,300. Having this much money to pay off can affect not only people who owe the money back, but the economy as well, which is why student-debt is such a large problem. Elyssa Kirkham wrote an article on Student Loan Hero about the effect that Student Debt has on people and the economy. Having a huge amount of student debt can delay people reaching their life milestones. Kirkham states that “There are many studies out there showing that this debt is causing consumers to delay first time home purchases, getting married, having children and retirement, just to name a few.” (Kirkham). If people have a huge amount of student debt to pay off then they will not have enough money to get married, have children, etc. causing them to fall behind on major life events. Another reason why student is a problem is that it slows the growth of new business. Kirkham mentions that “student loan debt means fewer new businesses are created…an associate professor of finance at Northeastern University, estimates that a person with $30,000 in student loans is 11% less likely to start a business than one who graduated debt-free.” (Kirkham). Student loans prevent spending and business which literally run the U.S. economy. The effects of student debt can slow economic growth and even its overall productivity.

            Even though student debt is a major problem there are still things that can be done to help get rid of some of it. An example would be Joe Biden’s $10,000 plan. Ben Holland and Alex Tanzi wrote an article showing the statistics and problems of student debt, but also mentioned possible solutions such as Biden’s plan. According to Holland and Tanzi, “Biden’s $10,000 plan would wipe out about $370 billion in loans…”. (The Battle Over Student Debt). This would cancel out $10,000 of student loan debt per person. Ryan Lane from Nerdwallet wrote an article explaining Biden’s $10,000 plan and how it would work. According to Lane Biden’s plan could “wipe out debt completely for nearly 15 million borrowers who owe $10,000 or less according to federal data.” (Lane). This means it would help 33% of loan borrowers pay off their student debt. Another way the government can help you repay your loans would be through loan forgiveness. FederalStudentAid has an article all about Loan forgiveness and how one can achieve it. Loan Forgiveness could be a good option for someone who cannot afford to pay back their loans. According to FederalStudentAid “loan forgiveness means you don’t have to pay back some or all of your loan.” (Student Loan Forgiveness). There are many different options of loan forgiveness for different careers so it is good to check what a person may be eligible for. An example of loan forgiveness would be Teacher Loan Forgiveness. FederalStudentAid states that “if you teach full time for five complete and consecutive academic years in certain elementary or secondary may be eligible for forgiveness of up to a combined total of $17,500 on eligible federal student loans.” (Student Loan Forgiveness). Different loans have different requirements, but if a person follows them correctly, they can have some or all of their loans paid off.

            Student Debt has been an ongoing crisis in the United States for many years. It seems to be a cycle within families because it is so difficult to pay off the loans that were needed for college education. The student debt crisis has caused people to not be able to live the life they went to college to achieve due to the extremely high costs of tuition. There are some ways to help, but the options are slim and somewhat complicated, and not everyone is eligible. There needs to be a change or else student debt will forever haunt the higher education system of the U.S.





       Hess, Abigail J. “How Student Debt Became a $1.6 Trillion Crisis.” CNBC, CNBC, 12 June 2020,

Holland, Ben, and Alex Tanzi. “The Battle Over Student Debt.” Bloomberg Businessweek, no. 4684, Jan. 2021, pp. 22–24. EBSCOhost,,shib&db=bth&AN=147953424&site=eds-live&scope=site

Kirkham, Elyssa. “What Are the Effects of Student Loan Debt on the Economy?” Student Loan Hero, Lendingtree, 9 Feb. 2021,

Rubin, Nancy, and Karina Alexanyan. “Data Science Reveals US Higher Education and Student Loan Systems Are Failing Students Who Need Them Most.” Journal of Literacy & Technology, vol. 22, no. 1, Spring 2021, pp. 92–125. EBSCOhost,,shib&db=eue&AN=149642998&site=eds-live&scope=site.

Lane, Ryan. “Joe Biden’s Student Loan Plan: What’s Happening Now.” NerdWallet, NerdWallet Inc., 21 Apr. 2021,

“Student Loan Forgiveness (and Other Ways the Government Can Help You Repay Your Loans).” An Office of the U.S. Department of Education, FederalStudentAid,

Research Project


College serves as an opportunity to provide higher education or specialized professional training. For the privilege, college is expected to be a blissful moment in life. However, for first generation students that headline may not read the same. First generation college students may have a different outlook on the pre-emotions of going to college. Attending college consists of having a determined mindset to accomplish a higher education. It can be difficult to accomplish something when you lack support. The lack of guidance and mental stress can add extra challenges to achieving higher education. 

To find guidance, I applied to a college-readiness program during my junior year called the Achievers Scholars Program through the College Success Foundation (CSF), (Ronnie Estoque, I’m one of the first in my family to attend college. Here’s how I got here Pg. 1).  Within the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has added additional challenges for first-generation college students. Since the start of the pandemic 30% of students indicated that they wanted to reduce the number of courses they were enrolled in or completely withdraw from classes. There are reports as of January 2021 that show undergraduate students have reduce their course load by 4%. This global pandemic has negatively impacted students academic motivated and success. (Student’s also experience stress from their studies and their emotional well being is declining because of the pandemic. Terenzini et al. 1996). This research paper is to explore how are first generation student coping during this pandemic and maintaining a stable mind-set to complete their goal of graduating? There are tools and resources such as the federally funded TRIO program, that may be able to support the mental health and academic success for first generation college students.  

Before the global Covid-19 Pandemic, college offered vast amenities and the services available on campus are what provided students an outlet. However, with a wide range of activities, maintaining a certain academic grade was still mandatory to participate. Since the start of Covid-19, those activities and resources have ceased, and everyone must fend for themselves. The appointments are longer to see a counselor, and to find help right away is a thing of the past. Studies show that 40% of college students across America drop out from college after their first year (Vaughn et al., 2017.) Students who are coming from a first-generation background are at higher risk at becoming a college drop out. Noting the above barriers, first-generation students overall academic success and social integration across the university is due to reduced faculty support on campus and is exasperated by a reluctance from first-generation college students to seek out help/ All of these factors contribute to increased attrition (Katrevich & Aruguete, 2017; Stephen et al, 2012.) This is important to understand because first-generation college students need more support and guidance when they are in school in order to graduate.  

Support and guidance can be hard to find with schools closed, and everything online. Some universities offer a supportive program called TRIO, a federal funded program that gives service grants through the U.S Department of Education. TRIO aids to support the non-privileged students with free tutoring, educational field trips, personal counseling, and a list of other resourceful benefits. Campus support and other personal interactions are tools needed for first-generation students trying to figure out an unfamiliar environment and TRIO provides that. It’s known that the pandemic has caused students to feel fatigue, loss of idealism, anxiety, depletion, and several other emotions. TRIO, aids students to cope with problem-solving to identify the direct issues students are having. I am a TRIO student, and even through a pandemic, I receive daily text messages reminding me to reach out if assistance is needed.  

First generation college students (FGCS) face academic, financial, professional, cultural, emotional challenges throughout the process of obtaining a higher education.  A study found that compared with traditional college students, FGCS took fewer humanities courses, studied fewer, took fewer credits, worked more part time hours, and were less likely to participate in honors programs (Terenzini et al. 1996). How do you maintain mental stability with when you are working hard to accomplish something, but the odds are stacked up against you? A study has been conducted to test the difference between Mental Fitness skills, Psychological Resilience, and Academic Achievement among First Generation College Students.  

An outlook on resilience is strength to surpass all challenges. To have the courage to face fear, produce positive results even after being exposed to trauma. Everyone is not able to make it out of the challenging circumstances and walk into a master’s degree. Some people may have the desire but the mental fear, and depression and other scary mental disabilities keep a lot of people from moving forward. The number’s never lie, and although people are verbally rooting for themselves. Studies show that FGCS scored below the mean on all six of the Test of Performance Strategies Revised for College Students. (TOPS-RCS)  

First generation college students experience unique stressors. Covarrubias, Romero, And Trivelli (2015) found that higher level of family achievement guilt (i.e. the feelings of guilt that arise when students have more educational success than their parents or siblings) result in significantly higher depressive symptoms, lower self-esteem, and a higher frequency of minimizing their academic success among first generation college students the non-first generation college students. It’s one thing to know that the systematic racial system we live under is rooting for you to fail, but when your family isn’t rooting for you it’s heartbreaking. (   ) Another mental stressor for first generation college student  is because high counselor often fail to discuss college with potential first time generation students, steer them away from a rigorous high school curriculum, or even discharge them from pursing college (Hudley et. Al 2009; Rendon, 1993, Saenz, Hurtado, Barrera, wolf yeung, 2007). It is no wonder some people never make it through the doors. The leaders who are supposed to be assisting, are doing more damage than doing good.

(Since majority of first-generation college students are minorities, or people who come from a background of socioeconomics Lisa House et al). First Generation College Students are also children of immigrants. It is time to rise and do the unthinkable. Come together and raise funds to send children to elite university, because a lot of privilege people spend money for their kids to attend Harvard. If your family is not supporting you, or you are just simple all alone. TRIO and other academic enrichment programs are available to assist students through this pandemic. It is a good resource if you’re having anxiety about your experience in higher education. TRIO tutors also offer opportunities for tutoring and show how to solve problems. Programs like TRIO can assist students with skills and tools if students are worried about work overload and balancing personal life with school. There are challenges that have arisen for first generation college students because of this pandemic and there are not enough solutions and resources to help with these challenges.



Angela L. Vaughan, et al. “Intersection Between Trio/SSS Programs and FYS Effects on First- Generation Students”. Journal of Higher Education Theory and Practice Vol. 20(15)2020

Lisa A. House PH. D “Supporting the Mental Health Need of First-Generation College Students”. Center for Counseling and Human Developing. 2019

Ronnie Estoque, I’m one of the first in my family to attend college. Here’s how I got here. Page 1

How the Pandemic made an Impact on College Students Mental Health

The Pandemic

The year 2020 was supposed to be a new beginning for the new decade. New resolutions and promises were made but no one would’ve ever thought the world would be entering a global pandemic. A deadly virus, known as the COVID-19 virus, was and still is spreading throughout the globe. This led to lockdowns, isolation, and social distancing which separated a lot of people from their friends and family. Many people became unemployed and students had to leave campus and continue their education at home, away from the school resources and amenities. Students have endured one of the most dramatic life changes during the Pandemic. They were stripped away from having a real, normal college experience. Unfortunately, many students have experienced mental health issues throughout the past year. Active Minds is an organizational movement that promotes mental health in young adults. They surveyed about two thousand college students and 80% reported that the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted their mental health.

What is Mental Health and Why is it so Important for College Students?

Taking care of mental health is incredibly important for students. Mental Health is defined by our psychological well-being. It also consists of our emotional and social well-being (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). All of these can affect how a person thinks, feels, and acts, and it can also help how we may be able to handle life’s problems. Realistically, mental health affects everything, which is why it’s so important for students to improve and maintain it. Students have a lot of responsibilities which tends to cause stress and anxiety that can impact our physical health (Browne). Sarah Browne, the writer of 3 Reasons Why Mental Health Is So Important, informs her audience of what can occur if we lack the necessary treatment. It “leads to hopelessness and sadness, worthlessness, feeling guilty,  anxiety and worry, fear, and loss of control.” For students, this can lead to a decline in their performance in school and work.

How Did COVID-19 Affect College Students?

Evan Thompson revealed that the switch from face-to-face learning to remote learning is one of the “biggest triggers” for anxiety and depression. The mandated social distancing helped decrease the spread of the CoronaVirus but the lack of social interaction makes students feel excluded and disconnected (Thompson). Social interaction is important for many college students and it’s one of the main things they look forward to. Many students were kicked out of their campus living and were forced to move back home. Unfortunately, some of them were in toxic, abusive environments which emotionally and mentally drains the students. Other students found difficulty with staying consistent with a schedule and looking out for themselves.

What Are Some Ways College Students Can Improve and Maintain Their Mental Health?

The mind and body are connected, therefore the best way to start improving your mental health is by taking care of your body. Alicia Betz, writer of “How to Take Care of Your Mental Health in College,” says eating well and exercising can affect your depression, anxiety, and addiction (Betz). Betz includes a lot of helpful ways to help your mental health. Students must allow themselves to accept the reality of the pandemic and putting things in perspective can help you realize that it’s all a part of life. The biggest step a student can do is open up about their issues and get the help they need before it gets worse. It’s crucial for students to take healthy breaks from time to time. Many college students tend to overwork themselves which drains them of their energy. It’s important to exercise in any stress-relieving activities to help prevent worsening any mental illness symptoms.


The pandemic has caused a lot of unpredictable events. Many people have lost loved ones and others are struggling with financial issues. Everyone is going through their own personal battle at this time and it’s important to have patience with yourself and others. Mental Health affects everything and having patience while improving and maintaining the mind can help students accomplish their goals for school while also feeling happy with themselves.



Betz, Alicia. How to Take Care of Your Mental Health in College, Education Corder, 

Browne, Sarah. “3 Reasons Why Mental Health Is So Important.” Lifehack, Lifehack, 12 Jan. 2021, 

“Learn About Mental Health – Mental Health – CDC.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 26 Jan. 2018, 

“Statistics.” Active Minds, 2 Mar. 2021, 

Thompson, Evan. “How COVID-19 Has Impacted Student Mental Health.”, 19 Mar. 2021, 

Research Project – Lise Xu

Lise Xu

Professor Weaver


27 April 2021

Colleges Approaching Digital Divide and Low-Income Students

            Much of education today relies heavily on digital technology compared to the “pens and papers” of the past. Even this very research project is completed electronically. Device usage in school starts in early education, where most students spend years building digital proficiency for higher education. Students are encouraged – even expected – to own some sort of electronic device with internet access, but not everyone has the privilege to do so. In his article “I Was a Low-Income College Student. Classes Weren’t the Hard Part”, Anthony Abraham Jack briefly mentions his lack of access to technology as a low-income student, highlighting the issue of the digital divide in education. The purpose of this research is to give insight into the impact of the digital divide on low-income college students and how colleges should approach this issue.

            There is no doubt that digital divide creates an academic disadvantage for low-income students. The use of technology has become an integral part of any college student’s life ranging from checking emails, registering for classes, accessing grades, etc. Success in higher education depends on the knowledge of using digital tools and services to one’s benefit. Joanna Goode in her journal “Mind the Gap: The Digital Dimension of College Access”, emphasizes the idea that the lack of access to technology in early education hurts a student’s ability to succeed in higher education. Goode believes that those from a lower socio-economic background tend to avoid utilizing technology to its fullest potential due to the embarrassment of the lack of digital experience. She then claims that “students who are not using technology are potentially at an academic disadvantage” compared to their counterparts (Goode 584). In other words, the digital divide that prompts the disadvantage for low-income students is a result of limited digital access to build technical proficiency prior to college.

In Goode’s journal, two case studies were conducted to follow up on her claim that low-income students have an academic disadvantage. The first study follows Lara, a Latina college freshman with a low-income background. In high school, she never utilized computers since she had no access to the internet despite having a device. Her teachers also had limited experience with digital programs, leaving her with minimal self-taught knowledge to survive college assignments. Lara was unaware of her university’s virtual resources as no one told her about them. Her experience is the opposite of the experience of Scott from the second case. Scott has a more advantageous background, having worked with computers since 4th grade. His high level of proficiency was built throughout the years and allowed him to utilize his knowledge to the maximum in college. In this case, Scott was aware of his university’s virtual resources, which saved him time and money that Lara did not have the opportunity to get. Based on these two students’ experiences, “schools need to be guided by universities to better prepare students for the high-tech demands of campus life” (Goode 607). Those with a low-income background cannot succeed without support from universities, whether it starts from early education or when students are on campus.

There has always been an assumption that the digital divide exists due to the lack of unlimited access to technology and Wi-Fi. The obvious solution is to have an institution provide devices and online access to all students to allow everyone equal opportunity. Buford L. McWright believed there was more to the digital divide besides the lack of access. He conducted a study with students of various races and economic backgrounds and documented his findings in the article “EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY AT A DISTANCE Is Access to Technology Enough?” The study itself concluded with the idea that “providing access…may be a necessary” but it is not sufficient enough to ensure “students will improve their skills and develop more positive attitudes toward technology” (McWright 171). Digital divide hurts low-income students by interfering with their opportunities to build technical skills. Even if colleges did provide unlimited access, these students would not benefit much more due to their lack of experience.

Going into higher education, college students will have various degrees of digital readiness due to their diverse backgrounds. Digital divide and education inequalities affect each student’s digital literacy, with low-income students suffering the consequences of having less digital knowledge. This concept is introduced through a study in Nicole Buzzetto-Hollywood, et al.’s journal “Addressing Information Literacy and the Digital Divide in Higher Education.” The journal addresses the belief that many in higher education assume students are already proficient in digital learning and technology to be successful, therefore “rendering additional coursework unnecessary” (Buzzetto-Hollywood, et al. 89). That hurts low-income students as colleges will spend less time and resources providing digital assistance with their generalizing belief. Higher education institutions should instead focus on examining digital literacy skills and the needs of all students, followed by providing resources for these students to improve their technical capabilities by the time they graduate.

As education continues to digitalize, the academic inequalities low-income students experience will keep growing. The main concern revolves around the lack of experience these students have with technology and digital programs that would otherwise help them through higher education. As technology evolves and new complicated programs emerge, low-income students are left in the dust without proper support. Colleges should take into consideration every student’s digital literacy skills and technical backgrounds to provide efficient programs that can bridge the academic inequality between students.

Works Cited

Buzzetto-Hollywood, Nicole, et al. “Addressing Information Literacy and the Digital Divide in Higher Education.” Interdisciplinary Journal of E-Learning & Learning Objects, vol. 14, Jan. 2018, pp. 77–93. EBSCOhost, doi:10.28945/4029.

Goode, Joanna. “Mind the Gap: The Digital Dimension of College Access.” Journal of Higher Education, vol. 81, no. 5, Sept. 2010, pp. 583–618. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/00221546.2010.11779068.

Jack, Anthony Abraham. “I was a Low-Income College Student. Classes Weren’t the Hard Part.” New York Times, Sept. 20, 2019. 

MCNAMEE, T. Y., et al. “Don’t Forget About Rural Higher Education Students: Addressing Digital Inequities During COVID-19.” Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, vol. 37, no. 7, May 2020, pp. 12–13. EBSCOhost,,shib&db=a9h&AN=143444985&site=ehost-live&scope=site.

McWright, Buford L. “EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY AT A DISTANCE Is Access to Technology Enough?” Quarterly Review of Distance Education 4, no. 2 (Summer 2003): 167.,shib&db=a9h&AN=10049797&site=ehost-live&scope=site.

Research Paper: How Has The Pandemic Affected Student Mental Health?

Emma-Leigh Barfield

Professor Weaver

ENGL 1102

27 April 2021


School has always been a challenge whether it is taking a difficult class or learning how to time manage; however, no student is ever prepared to change everything they have ever known about school. When students entered the 2020 school year, the difficulties ahead would change the way they attend school for a while. With this, students began struggling with their mental health while trying to adapt to this different school environment. 

No student or professor expected to live and go to school during a global pandemic. No one was prepared for the way classes would be shifted to online or taking extreme social distancing measures. Many elements were taken into account that affected the mental health of many college students and professors during the pandemic, such as relocation, social distancing, financial issues, personal health, family matters, struggles with online school, the list continues. In a study by the Journal of Psychiatric Research about college students’ mental health, the many factors, especially with relocation, caused students to suffer from loneliness, depression, anxiety, and PTSD (Conrad, Rachel C). With approximately 26 million U.S. college students that faced a change with school during the pandemic, the numbers of mental health struggles skyrocketed. Many college students did not have ways to cope with these struggles and with the transition at their colleges, those students struggled to find help. By not being able to find help, students faced life struggles while also having to live with the stress of the new era of school. According to a study by Erick Baloran, 48.3% of students constantly stress about their classes during lockdown while 62.64% worry about food or their financial status. (Baloran, Erick T). With this information, we can see that some college students did not only struggle with just challenges at school but also life outside of school. Relocations put some college students in financial struggles. With the overwhelming elements that have affected students’ mindsets during the pandemic, the only way we can all get through it is together.

Every student faced some sort of change during the pandemic. Some may have even felt alone like no one understood them; however, this pandemic taught many people that this is not the time to ignore one another, but to help one another, socially distanced. An article by Nina L. Komar and Suniya S. Luther states “Moving forward, it will be more important than ever for all schools to remain highly vigilant about their school community’s mental health and to keep a pulse on the well-being of children as well as adults.” (Komar, Nina L) Schools and communities need to come together and focus on the mental health of students and faculty during this time. Many schools have taken these opportunities that would help improve the mental health of students, such as mental health days or turning school weeks into four days instead of five to let students catch up on work. Komar and Luther also discuss how we need to alter schools and communities by keeping constant communication, prioritizing mental health, giving frequent feedback, and moving forward (Komar, Nina L). Some students, however, might not be in the presence of a community that can do this. There are some things that struggling students can do to ease their mental health. 

With some students not having the support or resources for their mental health, they are left feeling stranded and alone. Some of these students do not know where to start. In the article “The Ultimate Guide To Mental Health For College Students” stressed out students can take these measures to improve their mental health. First, students need to Embrace Your Vulnerability starting with “be okay with not being okay. You may be facing challenges with your mental health. And that’s okay” (“The Ultimate Guide”). The first step to change is to identify what the problem is and how you need to improve that part of your life. The article then moves on to the second step, adding Self-Dialogue in Your Day-to-Day Life. By changing the way we think and tricking our minds into loving the feeling of change, students can improve their mental health difficulties by telling themselves they need this change to grow. The third step, Cover The Basics, is suggesting to students that their well-being is the most important in their life and to take time for yourself so anything thrown at you can be tackled easily. The Ultimate Guide To Mental Health For College Students states “A healthy diet, 7-8 hours of sleep every night, and at least 30 min of moving your body each day will keep your body more prepared to handle whatever comes your way” (“The Ultimate Guide”). Moving on to step four, Reach Out To Your Support Group, whether it is a close friend or an actual support group, the article suggests engaging with these people that want to help you because they might need your help as well. Lastly, Guided Journaling can help improve mindsets and mental health problems. I think guided journaling is very beneficial. Everyone’s minds are constantly filled with the many things we remember throughout the day and sometimes it can become a bit too much. Taking this time to relax and write down the problems or situations in your head so you can see them. I always thought of it as I can not see what it is in my head so when I write it down, I can see it and know how to feel about it. This article, The Ultimate Guide To Mental Health For College Students, gives a great five-step guide on little things students and even faculty can do to build up their mental health.

Many factors were put into the stress on student’s mental health during the pandemic. If we start prioritizing mental health in schools and communities, we can come together in a time of need and help those who need it. Students can even follow some steps to add to their daily routines to improve their mental health for the future. No one planned on student mental health struggles being at a peak while going through a pandemic, but the only way we will get through it is together, socially distanced, of course.


Works Cited


Baloran, Erick T. “Knowledge, Attitudes, Anxiety, and Coping Strategies of Students during COVID-19 Pandemic.” Journal of Loss & Trauma, vol. 25, no. 8, Dec. 2020, pp. 635–642. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/15325024.2020.1769300. Accessed 19 April 2021.


Conrad, Rachel C., et al. “College Student Mental Health Risks during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Implications of Campus Relocation.” Journal of Psychiatric Research, vol. 136, Apr. 2021, pp. 117–126. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2021.01.054. Accessed 19 April 2021.


  “The Ultimate Guide To Mental Health For College Students.” DiveThru, 29 Mar. 2021, Accessed 24 April 2021.

KOMAR, NINA L., and SUNIYA S. LUTHAR. “SEEDS OF RESILIENCE: Insights from School Surveys on Student and Faculty Mental Health during the Pandemic.” Independent School, vol. 80, no. 1, Fall 2020, pp. 62–67. EBSCOhost,,shib&db=a9h&AN=146355236&site=ehost-live&scope=site. Accessed 19 April 2021.