Who We Serve

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

Higher Education Remains the Surest Path to Economic Prosperity

The programs we fund serve students who face challenges their higher-income peers do not. At Great Lakes we work to make postsecondary degrees, credentials and certificates available to as many students as possible. Specifically, we focus on those who traditionally have the most to gain from college, but the least support in getting there: students of color, students from low-income families, and those who are the first in their families to attend college.

The Equity Gap

Many students face disparities in opportunity, income and access to education. We seek to level the playing field by removing barriers to and providing equitable opportunities for a chance at a better life through education.

Low-Income Students

Students from low-income families are less likely to complete a bachelor's degree than their higher-income peers.

Family Income Bar Graph
Family Income Approximate Completion Rate
$0 to $32,000 20%
$32,000 to $60,000 40%
$60,000 to $92,000 60%
$92,000+ 80%
Pell Institute, "Indicators of Higher Education Equity in the United States - 45 Year Trend Report," 2015

First-Generation Students

Students who are from low-income families and are the first in their family to attend college have the lowest college completion rates.

First-Generation Graph
  • First-generation, low-income: 21%
  • First-generation, not low-income: 31%
  • Low-income, not first-generation 37%
  • Neither low-income, nor first-generation 57%
Pell Institute, "Indicators of Higher Education Equity in the United States," 2017

Students of Color

Despite growing college enrollment among students of color, blacks and hispanics have lower levels of degree attainment than whites.

Students of Color Graph
  • Whites with degrees 40%
  • Native Americans with degrees 24%
  • Blacks with degrees 23%
  • Hispanics with degrees 15%
Lumina Foundation, "Today's Student Statistics," 2015

October 19, 2017

Summer Melt Texting Initiative Lessons Learned

Find out what it takes to launch a successful program

Read the Report

Career Ready Internship Grant Closing Report

Learn best practices from our grant partners

Read the Report

Dash Emergency Grant Closing Report

Learn best practices from colleges with successful programs!

Read the Report