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The New York Times

by Laura Pappano

April 8, 2015

First gen students unite

What is it like to be a first-generation college student on a campus shrouded in socio-economic privilege? Laura Pappano, writer-in-residence at the Wellesley Centers for Women, writes about how, at Ivy League schools and other elite colleges and universities, first-generation students are an invisible minority. When more than half of the freshman class come from families making over $125,000 a year, including 15 percent with incomes between $250,000 and $500,000 and another 14 percent making over $500,000, as is the case at Harvard, low-income and first-generation students can feel marginalized, under-supported, or negatively stereotyped.

However, at Ivy League schools and other elite colleges and universities, first-generation students are speaking up and organizing to bring awareness to a issues of socio-economic diversity in higher education. In February 2015, 1vyG, a student group at Brown, hosted the first Inter-Ivy FIrst Generation Student Network, bringing together students to support and empower each other, discuss issues, and organize for positive social change.

Laura Pappano, WCW writer-in-residence

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