This article is published in the January 2015 issue.

First generation college students significantly less likely to have had an REU


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515 students who were 4th or 5th year undergraduates in computing programs reported their parental education, in-major GPA, and whether or not they had an REU during their undergraduate program. First generation college students were significantly less likely to have had an REU, even at the highest GPA levels. Other questions established that the reasons for nonparticipation were not lack of interest (first generation sophomores were equally as interested in an REU as non first generation students, 41% vs. 43%) or finances (first generation seniors who did not participate in REUs were no more likely to say that an REU didn’t pay well enough, 23% vs. 23% of those whose parents had bachelor’s degrees and 31% whose parents had graduate degrees). However, high-GPA first generation students were more likely to say that they were not aware of available research opportunities (students with GPA > 3.5, 48% of first generation students and 50% of those whose parents had bachelor’s degrees vs. 25% of those whose parents had graduate degrees). Therefore, REU programs might want to make a special outreach effort to these students to make sure that they are aware of opportunities and that they understand what is required to apply and participate.

These data are brought to you by the CRA’s Center for Evaluating the Research Pipeline (CERP). CERP provides social science research and comparative evaluation for the computing community. To learn more about CERP, visit our website at http://cra.org/cerp/.