I am looking for recent statistics on the average percentage of students at 4-year institutions who are first-generation. This is for a grant I am writing for a summer program intended to focus on recruiting talented 1st-gen STEM students. I found exactly the graph I want with data up to 2005, but I think the numbers have increased a bit. Here is what I found:

Plot of average percentage of first-generation college students up to 2005

in this report (see p. 7):


But here is a clip from the New York Times ("First-Generation Students Unite", by Laura Pappano, April 8, 2015) which makes me think the percentage is a little higher now:

"Of the 7.3 million full-time undergraduates attending four-year public and private nonprofit institutions, about 20 percent are the first in their families to go to college. While the number has ticked up as college-going has increased over all, the proportion has actually declined from 40 years ago, when 38 percent were first generation, according to the annual U.C.L.A. survey."

Now, I trust the NYT article, but I would feel better directly citing the UCLA study they mention. I'm guessing it's a continuation of the plot shown above, because that report is on the UCLA domain. But I haven't been able to turn it up, and wondered if anyone here could point me in the right direction. Thanks in advance!

1 Answer 1


You can find the data here -:


and the data dictionary can be found here -:


P.S- I work at @datazar which is an open source data library, where people can view, share and work with data.


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