Female student with umbrella in front of Winona State Library.

Frequently Ask Questions About Being a First Generation Student

How do I know if I am a first generation student?

The federal definition for a first generation student is any college student where neither parent has earned a 4-year degree.  If this definition describes you, then you are a Winona State First-Gen Warrior!  

What is unique about being a first generation student?

First generation students, compared to students whose parents have a 4-year degree, are more likely to:

  • be equally supported and encouraged by their parents regarding their bachelor’s degree
  • be transfer students from a 2-year institution
  • be female
  • be older (non-traditional) and have dependent children
  • be Black or Hispanic
  • be from low-income families
  • be juggling academics and work
  • be commuting or living off campus

Why identify first generation students?

According to the Pell Institute (2008) and the National Center for Education Statistics only 34% of first generation students’ graduate within 6 years and nearly 20% leave college entirely.  At Winona State University we want all of our students to graduate!  In order to support our First-Gen Warriors we have created a number of unique resources and experiences just for you.


Why was the First-Gen Warrior Student Club created?

First generation students leave college at a higher rate than other students. We created the First-Gen Warrior Student Club to help you connect with other first generation college students who may be having similar college experiences.  Together with our website and other resources, we want you and all first generation students to know Winona State is here for you!