UK Program Helps First-Generation, Low-Income Students Navigate College
Story by Linda B. Blackford, Lexington Herald-Leader
When Gloria Maldonado was still at Bryan Station High School, she remembers college reps coming to talk about the University of Kentucky. The first in her family to plan to go to college, "I didn't even know what an alumni was," she recalled.
That's one of the many almost imperceptible challenges that face low-income and first-generation college students, a vocabulary that often doesn't include them.
"Everything about college was new to me," said Maldonado, 21, who's now a senior at UK majoring in dietetics.
Maldonado won a Charles Parker scholarship to attend UK and soon found refuge at Student Support Services, which helps first-generation, low-income and disabled students cope with everything from financial aid to tutoring.
"It's things like understanding what a book voucher is or how to talk to a professor," Maldonado said. As a single mother to now 5-year-old Azila, she needed academic and moral support to get through her freshman year. Today, she is the coordinating tutor for the office.
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