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Higher Ed Commission Focuses On First Generation Students

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education says helping first-generation college students is key to reaching its goals.

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The state's Commission for Higher Education aims to increase the percent of Hoosiers who have earned a secondary-education degree.

As part of its effort to increase the number of Hoosiers with post-secondary degrees, the Commission for Higher Education is shining a spotlight on first generation college students.

Indiana currently ranks 40th in the country in college completion with only about a third of Hoosiers completing education beyond high school. Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers says the challenges are particularly difficult for first generation college students.

“They don’t feel like they belong there,” Lubbers says. “They don’t have friends or family back at home to get them past the first semester or the first year. They’re working two or three jobs while they’re going to college, many people.”

One of the Commission’s goals is to have 60 percent of Hoosiers with some sort of post-high school credential by 2025. Lubbers says focusing on first-generation college students is a major part of that goal.

“And we need to make sure they understand we’re not talking about a four-year degree for everybody,” she says. “We’re talking about post-secondary credentials and certificates aligned to workforce needs.”

Lubbers says K-12 and higher education must be better aligned so that going from 12th grade to freshman year in college is like going from 11th grade to 12th.

Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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