York welcomes Ontario announcement on first-generation students

York University welcomed yesterday’s announcement by Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty of investment in programs to help young people become the first in their families to pursue higher education.

“York has one of the highest rates of first-generation students in Ontario,” noted York President & Vice-Chancellor Lorna R. Marsden. “Based on a sample survey last year, 43.3 per cent of our first- and fourth-year students told us that neither parent had attended university.”

The challenge of addressing the needs of the first generation goes beyond helping students once they enrol in university. “York has been at the forefront of creating outreach programs with the goal of engaging high-school students and their parents in making the University a familiar part of their community,” said Paul Axelrod, dean of York’s Faculty of Education. “This is accomplished through the placement of York-trained teacher candidates in area schools and the development of University Path Programs that help students realize their own abilities, experience campus life and minimize the fear of the unknown.”

York’s University Path Programs involve elementary- and secondary-school students in programming that is aimed at making the University a familiar part of the community and reducing barriers to attending postsecondary education.