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Authors: Ela Joshi and Carolyn Heinrich, Vanderbilt University

Published: July 14, 2021

Excerpt: This brief explores differences in first-generation and non-first-generation students’ outcomes following the initiation of the Tennessee Promise in 2014-2015. As students who face numerous challenges accessing college, added support from a guidance counselor, teacher, parent, or mentor may have encouraged first-generation students to pursue higher education opportunities they could not previously afford or access. The supports afforded by Promise may translate into improved academic outcomes for students, especially those from first-generation backgrounds. Following the introduction of Promise, first-generation students were predicted to attempt and earn more first-term credits, but were predicted to earn lower GPAs, as compared to their non-first-generation peers. These patterns were only observed for community college students, whether or not they enrolled as Promise students. While Promise-initiation may have helped improve college access for first-generation students, students faced continued challenges to academic success after enrollment.

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Authors: Ela Joshi and Carolyn Heinrich, Vanderbilt University

Published: July 14, 2021

Excerpt: This brief explores differences in first-generation and non-first-generation students’ characteristics following the initiation of the Tennessee Promise in 2014-2015. As students who face numerous challenges accessing college, added support from a guidance counselor, teacher, parent, or mentor may have encouraged first-generation students to pursue higher education opportunities they could not previously afford or access. Results from the analysis show that, following the initiation of Tennessee Promise, first-generation students were more likely to be female, Black, and Hispanic, and had lower ACT scores while non-first-generation students were more likely to be White or Hispanic. These descriptive findings suggest that the initiation of Promise may have helped improve college access for less advantaged students.

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Authors: Ela Joshi and Carolyn Heinrich, Vanderbilt University

Published: July 14, 2021

Excerpt: This brief explores differences in first-generation and non-first-generation students’ first-term college outcomes. The brief also examines how differences vary depending on the number of degree-holding parents a student has as well as how first-generation students are defined. First-generation students attempted and earned fewer credits in their first term compared to their non-first-generation peers after accounting for student demographic, academic, financial, and institutional characteristics. First-generation students with one degree-holding parent performed slightly better than first-generation students with no degree-holding parents. While the magnitude of differences was small, differences were significant.

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Authors: Ela Joshi and Carolyn Heinrich, Vanderbilt University

Published: July 14, 2021

Excerpt: In this brief, we describe differences in the demographic, academic, and financial characteristics of first-generation and non-first-generation students in Tennessee. We also compare differences for first-generation students with no degree-holding parents and those with one degree-holding parent. Our findings are consistent with prior work on first-generation students. Gaps are largest between first-generation students who have no degree-holding parents and students with two degree-holding parents. Students with one degree-holding parent appear to have similar ACT scores as their peers with two degree-holding parents, but fewer family financial resources.

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Authors: Ela Joshi and Carolyn Heinrich, Vanderbilt University

Published: March 16, 2021

Excerpt: First-generation college students often lack informational and financial resources related to college and may particularly benefit from the supports created by the Tennessee Promise. The initiation of the Tennessee Promise in 2014 – 2015 created a constellation of supports for students transitioning to postsecondary institutions.

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Authors: Celeste K. Carruthers, Ph.D., Jilleah G. Welch, Ph.D.

Published: June 30, 2020

Excerpt: “State and federal agencies invested $51.5 billion in grant aid for college students in 2016-17, and we know from decades of research that financial aid systems can help traditional students access or complete college. We know much less about how aid interacts with non-traditional students, however, and ours is the first study we know of to examine the take-up and effects of financial aid for students attending non-degree technical colleges.”

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Authors: Celeste Carruthers, University of Tennessee; Walter Ecton, Vanderbilt University; Carolyn Heinrich, Vanderbilt University

Published: May 18, 2020

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Related Infographic: Working While Enrolled in Tennessee: A Snapshot

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Authors: Anna Davis, Corey Gheesling and Allison Webster-Giddings, Peabody College of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University

Published: May 2019

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Related Policy Brief: Veteran Student Access and Retention at Tennessee Public Universities

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Authors: TN-PEARL

Published: May 5, 2020

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