First-generation college students are not succeeding in college, and money isn't the problem

By Kavitha Cardoza

Jan 20, 2016 -

Social and cultural factors are working against many students who are the first in their family to pursue higher education.

Christopher Feaster lived in a homeless shelter in D.C. for most of high school. Laundry was a once-a-month luxury. “I would have to re-wear socks,” he says. “They were white socks, but they were so dirty that they were brown and sometimes they were starting to go black. I had to re-wear underwear because I didn’t have clean underwear.”

Homeless students face terrible odds of graduating high school, but Christopher excelled at school. A young man with an easy smile and bubbly personality, he maintained close relationships with his teachers and took part in a long list of extracurricular activities. He was the poster child for grit and determination. And it finally paid off: During his senior year, Christopher won $200,000 in college scholarships. His mother, teachers and classmates cheered, and in the fall, he headed off to Michigan State University, planning on a career in hospitality.

A year later, he dropped out.  Click here to read the whole story.