American RadioWorks |
Image: Harvard First Generation Student Union Facebook Page.

The First Gen Movement

Over the past decade many elite colleges have taken great strides to admit low-income students, but there are unanticipated financial and cultural barriers to fitting in on campus that can’t easily be solved by merely giving students a foot in the door. Questions of class differences have spurred a nationwide movement of “first generation” student clubs on college campuses.

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in collaboration with Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity

Develop welfare programs that foster interdependent generations

File under: welfare

0 (0 votes)

From: Ajay B., Minneapolis, MN

"Take good care of your children...they will choose your old age home," reads a bumper sticker. We are interdependent on our family and society. At the level of a family, parents take care of the children, each other and grandparents. At the level of a society, the working population pays for the welfare of the preceding and succeeding generations. A child can be conditioned to be altruistic towards a parent and the public. The government has a prominent role in this conditioning.

Government assistance can add to whatever parents are able to provide, allowing children to reach their full potential. This makes children productive citizens, and gives them a feeling of gratitude towards their parents. Government assistance can also replace parental provision, which may weaken the sense of obligation and gratitude towards parents. Thus, the government has to do a balancing act with regard to its various welfare programs. For example, recent research has shown that welfare programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) might have unintended consequences which go beyond nutrition.

Designers and administrators of welfare programs in state and federal governments need to provide a more coordinated package of programs. Then, and only then, will the programs achieve their goal of increased welfare. Providing better management and resources to the welfare programs might seem like an additional burden on government resources, but integrated management of programs will likely yield personnel and office space cost savings. Also, different generations taking better care of each other might save the state on expenditures on seniors and foster care.


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American RadioWorks |
Image: Harvard First Generation Student Union Facebook Page.

The First Gen Movement

Over the past decade many elite colleges have taken great strides to admit low-income students, but there are unanticipated financial and cultural barriers to fitting in on campus that can’t easily be solved by merely giving students a foot in the door. Questions of class differences have spurred a nationwide movement of “first generation” student clubs on college campuses.

Recent Posts

  • 04.15.15

    The Lost Children of Katrina

    In the year following Hurricane Katrina, 30 percent of displaced children were either not enrolled in school or not attending regularly. Today, Louisiana has the nation’s highest rate of young adults who are neither in school nor working. And researchers are starting to ask: could the widespread gaps in schooling after Katrina be the reason?
  • 04.08.15

    Saving a Women’s College from Closure

    Last month the board of Sweet Briar College announced that the school will shut its doors at the end of this term, due to financial difficulties. The announcement was made abruptly, sending the campus community into a state of shock... and then activism.
  • 04.01.15

    The Future of College

    Kevin Carey's book "The End of College" is stirring up debate in higher ed circles. This week, a response to the book by a critic.
  • 03.25.15

    The End of College or the University of Everywhere

    When education policy wonk Kevin Carey looks into the future, he sees the end of traditional colleges and universities and he says that's a good thing.