First-Generation Students

Students who are first in their families to get into higher education

First-Generation Students, Housing Insecurity/unsheltered/homeless, Low Income, Poverty, Students of Color

United Way of King County

Why is the group I chose to research important?

I chose to investigate a group of students from low-income backgrounds who are first-generation because as a student who grew up low-income and who is a first-generation college student, I understand how difficult it is to navigate through school without the proper support that one needs. High-income students have the privilege of easily accessing educational opportunities; from specialized educational programs and private tutors to not having to worry about water leaking through the ceiling on rainy days while trying to focus on homework. Low-income students, however, don’t have these educational opportunities easily available to them, which makes life and school extremely challenging. Students who are English language learners and struggling to make ends meet also find it difficult to navigate through the path to graduation and pursue higher education without resources.

Brief history of the educational organization that you have researched along with the purpose of the organization?

United Way of King County, a non-profit organization in the Seattle area is shown to be important for its service to others. They are committed to tackling racial inequities, homelessness, low income, and food insecurity that students and families face. Not only do they provide basic needs and essentials but also offer free educational services ranging from pre-k to higher education for youth who are primarily first-generation, low-income, and/or students of color so they can pursue an education without barriers stacked against them. So with the help of the United Way of King County team, volunteers, community partners, and generous donors and sponsors, this non-profit can bridge the gap between vulnerable communities and community support systems.

United Way of King County first started as the Seattle Community Fund in 1921, which involved “43 separate fundraising efforts among the city’s health and welfare agencies” (United Way of King County Celebrates Centennial, 2021, para. 2). As the organization continued to assist with challenges and further expanded, it was then named United Good Neighbors in 1952. In the year 1972, United Good Neighbors fused with another organization called United Way of America to become what we know today as United Way of King County; an organization that was founded on responding to community needs, especially the needs of the most vulnerable. Their mission statement is “to bring caring people together to give, volunteer, and take action to help people in need and solve our community’s toughest challenges” (United Way of King County, About Us Section). In other words, the purpose is to promote racial equity while fighting homelessness and food insecurity. As well as helping students graduate, and breaking the cycle of poverty for many in King County.

Whom do they serve?

United Way of King County serves communities that include but is not limited to students and people of low income, students and people of color, people experiencing poverty or homelessness, and families that need meal assistance. They guide individuals, families, and students to resources that help pave the path to brand-new opportunities.

Programs offered?

There are various programs offered such as the ParentChild+ program, which helps families better prepare their children for kindergarten by providing 2 and 3-year-olds a coach of the same cultural background and language. The Reconnecting Youth program focuses on high school youth as they graduate through 1:1 mentoring, educational coaching, and providing resources to help students navigate careers of interest. Another educational program is Bridge to Finish, which helps college students complete their education through housing and financial supports, as well as food assistance.

Other programs not relating to schooling are programs that center on fighting homelessness such as Home Base and Streets to Home. As well as the Fuel Your Future, which focuses on providing food for those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and a Free Tax Preparation program for those in poverty. United Way of King County also provides rental assistance and various food resources.

What could they do better?

Many low-income and struggling households don’t have access to the internet which can create barriers for them to access vital programs and resources that are widely available on the web, so I think the United Way of King County can do better at spreading more awareness about this organization to those who don’t easily have access to the information provided on their website. Also, the search bar on the website only shows results for articles, instead of programs of interest. It would make the process easier for others if programs were included in the search bar results.

Was information about the organization accessible? Red flags?

Information about the programs and services was very accessible. Despite it being overwhelming at first glance because of the various links and information on the first page, I was still able to find the information I needed. The organization also went in-depth about what the programs offer.

What other organizations are doing similar work?

Other nonprofit organizations that are also serving the community through educational youth programs, and financial and basic need assistance are El Centro de La Raza and Multi-Service Center.

El Centro de La Raza is a Latino-driven organization in Seattle, WA that centers on building a unified community that fights against poverty and discrimination of any kind. They promote equity and justice for the most vulnerable through bilingual resources that include but are not limited to child & youth programs, human & emergency services, and education & asset-building programs.

The Multi-Service Center is another organization that centers on connecting vulnerable communities, especially impoverished communities in South King County to individualized support and resources; from housing & rental assistance, and food & clothing banks to education and employment assistance.


Shopify Partners. (n.d.). Grad Student Celebrating Diploma Up In Sun Photo [Photograph]. Burst.

United Way of King County. (2021, December 29). United Way of King County Celebrates Centennial.

United Way of King County. (n.d.). About Us.

United Way of King County. (n.d.).

Creating Communities of Learning that Include Families, Curriculum that is Culturally Relevant for the 21st century, First-Generation Students, Immigrant, Students of Color

Impecunious Immigrant Families and their Incoherences in a Foreign Forefront

As you might know, immigrating to a new country and starting your life all over again is extremely challenging. It’s even worse for students to rebuild connections and continue their education in a new locality. For such students, non-profit organizations like Equity in Education Coalition of Washington (EEC) are equalizing the opportunity gap and providing immigrants and students of color resources to better equip and excel in the United States.

The EEC’s mission is to provide academical assistance, support, and create opportunities for students of color. According to a research study, when students of color where compared to White students, college students of color reported an alarmingly higher rate of loneliness and emotional stress, anxiety, depression, and hopelessness.

Why is the group that you chose to research important?

As an international student myself, I faced a lot of academical and cultural difficulties in the beginning. Although my family is extremely well educated and financially independent, the transition from an Indian school to a US high school was pretty cumbersome and challenging.

For millions of other students like me, EEC provides opportunities and resources to help excel in schools and better fit in the social culture. They also host conferences and large-scale gatherings about anti-racism and equity in the education system.

Brief history of the educational organization that you have researched along with the purpose of the organization?

The EEC is a statewide civil rights organization that’s focused on revolutionizing education. Their goal is to create a society where the opportunity gap among students is eliminated and every child of color has an equal opportunity to succeed.

EEC was founded, led, and staffed by people of color. They fight for equality and resonate the voices of black and brown people on education issues.

Whom do they serve?

The EEC primarily aims to serve the minority/underrepresented people in the Washington state. Their target group includes first-generation immigrant students, students of color, and other students dealing with racism, discrimination, or inequality.

Programs offered?

The EEC offers many resources to help students transition easier. They provide videos, books, articles, education and financial interests, scholarships, tutoring, and assistance for anyone dealing with hardships.

What could they do better?

The EEC should provide more insights and expand their outreach all across the United States. They should also partner with tech companies and other NGO’s to help expand and provide real-world, hands-on learning opportunities.

They should also invest in further developing their website and hire/recruit more people to join their cause.

Was information about the organization accessible? Red flags?

Yes, most of the information was open-sourced and readily accessible to the public. Most people should be able to find out about the organization through Google or by scrolling their website (Click here to view the website).

What other organizations are doing similar work?

Other similar organizations that do similar work:


Image Credit:

“Home.” Supporting All Students,

Information Sources:

“Home.” Supporting All Students,

“Racial Equity Archives.” Equity in Education Coalition of Washington,

First-Generation Students

National Association for Bilingual Education

10 Benefits of Being Bilingual - Unuhi Bilingual Books
10 Benefits of Being Bilingual by Mark Bassett

With the influx of immigrants and the increasing demand for education, more and more bilingual students need extra attention and help. I chose immigrant students and bilingual students as the research group. The number of bilinguals has increased, but current educational resources have not kept up with this increase. There is a survey of bilinguals from 1980 to 2018. Back in 1980, there was 10.68% whereas in 2018, the last ACS survey, it was 20.55%, that is 63 million inhabitants. “The proportion of bilinguals in the U.S. has practically doubled since 1980. If we add a few percentage points to take into account those not included in the survey, the proportion of bilinguals today is probably close to 23% of the total population.” (Francois Grosjean) As an immigrant student and bilingual, I feel that there is still room for improvement in the help provided by the school and the community to immigrant students and bilingual students. As an educator, I think I have the responsibility to promote the development of bilingual education and bring more help to bilingual students and immigrant students.

The National Association for Bilingual Education(NABE) has been committed to promoting bilingual education on a global scale since 1975. NABE has 20 state affiliates and 4 international affiliates, representing more than 5,000 members in total. Therefore, NABE is an influential organization with a long history of bilingual education. NABE pushes for a nation that supports diversity and for the government to accept that the country is composed of different nationalities. It pushes for the government’s support for diversity by creating policies, programs, projects, research, and the like that will increase the value of the home language of these people. In addition to providing professional development opportunities for bilinguals and bilingual teachers, NABE also promotes the improvement of language and culturally diverse children’s teaching plans and practices. 

NABE also provides different levels of online courses, providing bilingual students with learning methods to help students achieve academic success. Besides, their annual conference is the only gathering of professionals in the United States dedicated to exploring topics of interest for teachers, administrators, and parents of ELs, which include dual language education, second language acquisition, and bilingual education. NABE advocates the fairness of education for bilingual or multilingual students in the global society.

NABE Supports the Education of English Language Learners
NABE Supports the Education of English Language Learners

Since my research group is a bilingual student, I make a few suggestions for NABE from the perspective of students. NABE’s courses are fee-based, and attending their annual conferences also requires the purchase of tickets. If NABE can reduce fees, it can lower the threshold for bilingual students and educators to obtain professional resources, thereby benefiting more students. NABE places more emphasis on discussions between educators to promote the development of bilingual education, thereby promoting educational equity. Because of that, they can cooperate with the school to test whether this bilingual education reform is really helpful to bilingual students or not. If experts from different languages and cultural backgrounds are introduced to advise NABE on education reform, there may be new surprises in the results.

There are not many organizations related to bilingual learning, but this bilingual organization in California also serves as a reference. The California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE) is a non-profit organization incorporated in 1976 to promote bilingual education and quality educational experiences for all students in California. CABE is working to promote equity and student achievement for students with diverse cultural, racial, and linguistic backgrounds.


Francois Grosjean, 2018, The Amazing Rise of Bilingualism in the United States,

Mark Bassett, 2019,10 Benefits of Being Bilingual

Wright, W. E., Boun, S., & García, O. (Ed.). The handbook of bilingual and multilingual education. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell

First-Generation Students, Low Income

UW Dream Project

By: Giang Ho

UW Dream Project

Why is the group that you chose to research important?

The group of students that I am researching are first generation college students. These groups of students are important because all these students will go into college as the first one in their family, they don’t have anyone to rely on for help when they struggle. Being a first generation student myself has helped me better experience this feeling of struggle. The UW Dream Project has helped students such as myself learn about the school system and those financially, when we have no one else to rely on.

Brief history of the educational organization that you have researched along with the purpose of the organization?

This organization helps students navigate complex systems such as the workforce, financial aid, and college admissions. They want to empower students with the ability to make and enact a plan for their futures. They have a history of help prospective college students learn about the college system as well as teach current college students about mentoring high school students. They created an infinite cycle of helpers so that future generations will always have a group of helpers to rely on when they need help.

UW Dream Project is awarded a $150,000 College Spark Washington Community  Grant | Undergraduate Academic Affairs

Whom do they serve?

Their services mainly help first generation college students and low-income students, but other people that do not know this information can very easily still look at this information as the core of their organization is to help students.

Programs offered?

Their programs are ones such as:

  • A Weekly Mentorship Program: Students learn about effective mentoring strategies, a variety of post-secondary pathways, and issues related to educational equity in the K-12 system. The physical learning part of the class involves weekly visits to local partner high schools to work directly with students on post-secondary planning and the going around the college application process.
  • College & Career Readiness Assistants (CCRAs) Program: They are stipend interns who support local middle and high schools.
  • The partner high schools of the Dream Project serve a high number of students who receive free or reduced lunch. 

What could they do better?

They can do better by letting these future first generation college students visit the colleges they plan to go to, and show them the things that they actually plan to do. It would help them better about the college and those that they can ask for help when they need it there.

Was information about the organization accessible? Red flags?

They talk about how they train undergraduate students to become mentors by helping local middle and high schools. However, while they are helping through the process, what are they actually doing after they become fully trained mentors? Are they still working as mentors to help future first generation and low income students work through the college process? They do not actually say much on the specific ways that they are helping these first generation students.

What other organizations are doing similar work?

A similar organization though not in the Puget Sound area is the NASPA Center for First-generation Student Success, they help advocate for first generation and low income students by addressing the root causes and symptoms of existing social and economic problems.


Even though there could be a lot that the University of Washington Dream Project could do better, they do great in helping students learn about the college process and train current students to continue the cycle so that future first generation students do not suffer from the struggles.


Center for First-Generation Student Success.


“Whom We Serve.” Dream Project,


First-Generation Students, Low Income, Poverty, Students of Color

College Success Foundation

College Success Foundation scholars standing together.

“Our vision is that a college degree is attainable for all”.

That is the vision of the College Success Foundation and they working to do just that by empowering underserved youth and low-income families here in the Puget Sound. I chose to look at and discuss the work being done in the Puget Sound by the College Success Foundation because we are in a time that for many families around the region, and indeed around the country, attaining a college degree is beginning to feel like a foreign idea. Higher education inequity and accessibility has grown to be a major issue facing many around the nation and in the Puget Sound. It is important to recognize that low-income and underserved students may not have the same opportunities as some of their more fortunate peers.

The College Success Foundation was established in 2000 by Co-Founder’s Bob Craves and Ann Ramsay-Jenkins with support from local community leaders and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Their goal being to “…build a brighter future” under the idea that the ability for all students to obtain a college degree should be a right, not a privilege.  The CSF has since expanded statewide and even nationwide with an expansion into the District of Columbia. The CSF has remained steadfast in providing support and empowering students to reach their fullest potential. Despite recent hardships like the Coronavirus Pandemic, the CSF has continued to work with students, schools, and communities to promote student success.

The College Success Foundation operates by empowering and building awareness of college and career options starting in middle school and continuing support for students throughout their academic careers into college. The programs and initiatives ran by the CSF are different based on the region. In the Seattle area, they have four main programs broken up by grade. One such program is College and Career Readiness for students in grades 6-8, which helps promote awareness of college as an option for students and preparing students before they enter high school. For grades 9-10, the CSF has the HERO program in which students receive support to healthily transition from middle school to high school, inspiring students to achieve their fullest potential before college. The CSF has the Achievers program for low-income students grades 11-12, which serves to guide students through their last years of high school and prepare them to successfully transition into college. Even for students who have successfully started their college academic careers, the CSF continues to offer the support that students need to help them succeed while in college. In addition to these programs, the CSF also manages and administers many scholarships for low-income and underserved students around the state to support them in overcoming financial barriers.

Information on the College Success Foundation was not hard to research and was very accessible. Their website is nicely designed and easy to navigate. The CSF has done a great job in working to empower and inspire students around the state to reach their dreams. As mentioned previously, not every region that the CSF is operating in has all the CSF’s programs available for student use. I look forward to seeing and hope that the CSF will continue to work towards expanding access to all its programs across the state.

The College Success Foundation is working towards the same goal as other organizations, such as the Alliance for Education and the Coalition for Community Schools. All children deserve to have an equal opportunity to thrive, and the CSF is just one of the organizations working to make that a reality.

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