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Survey gives information about first-generation students

  • Sonia Dalmia, professor of economics, leads a class. A recent survey of first-generation students found that most felt they had quality relationships with faculty members.

Posted on March 05, 2013

A study of Grand Valley's first-generation students finds that they have more family responsibilities and more financial worries than their peers.

Institutional Analysis conducted the survey. Diana Pace, associate dean of students, requested the information as an avenue to give faculty and staff members more information about students. Results were detailed in the Pulse Winter 2013 issue, which is online at

“This is added information that faculty members can have to help them understand and know more about their students,” Pace said.

Nearly 40 percent of all Grand Valley students are the first in their families to attend college. Grade point averages for first-generation students were slightly lower than their peers: 3.09 for first generation seniors, compared to 3.19 for other seniors.

MAP-Works questions showed differences between the groups. Fewer first-generation students reported they felt confident they could pay future tuition and fees than their peers; and more first-generation students reported work obligations interfering with course work.

Pace said the university’s efforts at enhancing resources for first-generation students were noticeable within survey results. More first-generation students said their professors “cared about their success” and that they had quality relationships with faculty members.

Fewer first-generation students reported feeling lonely at Grand Valley, and slightly lower numbers said they participate in co-curricular activities than their peers.

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