American educator Horace Mann famously called education the "great equalizer of the conditions of men," and this concept is woven into Americans' ideology. Society believes that those who "pull themselves up by their bootstraps," like first-generation college graduates, should be rewarded for their hard work and talent through upward economic mobility. But are they?
New research from the Center for Household Financial Stability suggests the answer is nuanced. First-generation graduates actually are declining as a percentage of U.S. adults with bachelor's degrees. And while those who do become first-gen graduates get a financial boost from their degrees, it's not big enough for them to catch up to similar graduates whose parents also have four-year degrees.
Researcher Ana Hernández Kent, policy analyst for the Center, will share those and other key findings from the Center. She will be joined by Julie Stackhouse, executive vice president at the St. Louis Fed, who will share her experience as a first-generation college graduate. A panel discussion and audience Q&A will follow.