Henderson State University has partnered with nonprofit Strive for College to strengthen college opportunities for low-income, first-generation college students.
An estimated 24 percent of students enrolled in college are low-income, first-generation college students. But only 10 percent of these students earn a bachelor’s degree six years out from high school.
“The alarming dropout rate among first-gen college students illustrates the importance of programs that promote better college opportunities for these students,” said Strive for College founder and CEO Michael J. Carter. “Alongside schools like Henderson State University, we aim to change this trend.”
Strive for College’s programs provide resources to educators and students alike. For College Partners, there is a learning community where colleagues can share best-practices and model successful programs for recruiting and retaining first-generation college students. For students, Strive’s virtual mentoring program connects aspiring college students with dedicated mentors to receive one-on-one guidance and support through the college admissions and financial aid application process.
Henderson State is also helping to mobilize mentors from its campus community and alumni network to assist students.
Henderson is also the only Arkansas university featured in Strive’s I’m First! Guide to College, the only comprehensive college guidebook for first-generation college-bound students, and participates in the ImFirst.org website featuring student videos stories, blogs and advice from and for first-generation college students.
Henderson offers a variety of programs to assist first-generation students throughout their time at the university. The Academic Advising Center and Student Support Services at Henderson aim to guide students through college and improve student success. The McNair Scholars program provides effective preparation for doctoral study to low-income, first-generation college scholars and scholars from groups that are underrepresented in graduate education.
Henderson is also an active participant in the Southwest Arkansas College Preparatory Academy which seeks to prepare students for college-level learning. Henderson also ensures a smooth transition for first-year students through the Heart Start orientation for incoming students and the Henderson Seminar which introduces new students to campus facilities and services.
Strive for College was founded in 2007 by Michael J. Carter, then a student at Washington University in St. Louis, to help underserved area high school students apply to college and navigate financial aid.