SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — Southeast Technical College is part of a nationwide movement to help more first-generation college students find success. In tonight’s Your Money Matters, what joining the First Scholars Network means for students and Southeast Tech.
“I’m doing college for my parents since they came to this country for it, I feel like I need to accomplish that goal for them,” Southeast Tech student Isaac Carazo said.
As Guatemalan immigrants, Isaac Carazo’s parents never dreamed of going to college themselves but hoped moving to America would one day give their kids that opportunity.
“My sister went to college for a little bit but she didn’t finish, my goal is to finish it off, be the first person in my family to get a degree,” Carazo said.
But he didn’t have a lot of family support to figure out how to get there.
“I did it all on my own, asked my friends how to do it, asked your friend’s parents, school counselors a lot,” Carazo said.
“Their families want to support them they maybe don’t know how to support them other than saying we believe in you, you can do that, but how to go about doing it can be another story,” Marcella Prokop, the Director of Access and Workforce Opportunity at Southeast Tech said.
It’s why Southeast Technical College is now working to put more of those supports in place for all first-generation students.
“They may have a lack of generational knowledge of application deadline, filling out the FAFSA, the fact that you have to fill out the FAFSA every year when they get to college they may not have a family member to turn to say, I’m really struggling with classes right now, I don’t know what to do, so I want to drop out,” Prokop said.
As a new member of the NASPA’s First Scholars Network, Southeast Tech is committing to grow those kinds of support to help more first-generation students like Isaac find success in higher education.
“I think it benefits our families in the area, our young people in the area, but also is an economic concern; we want our employers to have the students they need to do those jobs and do them well,” Prokop said.
This is just the beginning of Southeast Tech’s efforts to help first-generation students. As part of the First Scholars Network Southeast Tech will work to add more programs and supports to eventually become a champion campus, the top tier of the national program.