We do a lot of statistical analysis on students who are first-generation HE; the first generation in their family to attend University.

But are there any similar studies on students who are second-generation HE - ie, whose parents were first-generation?

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    Have you a reason for asking this? I find it hard to think of a justification for the research?
    – Buffy
    Jul 27, 2018 at 23:51
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    @Buffy Well, it might be interesting to compare the two groups. (But I'm a computer scientist, not a sociologist.)
    – Bob Brown
    Jul 28, 2018 at 0:04
  • @BobBrown, "might be interesting" is hardly compelling. Is there any action item you think might be suggested by the research. On the face of it, it just sounds like a study for the sake of a study. I could be wrong and would like to know where I'm wrong. I note for the record here that we now have Mr. Green, and Mr. Brown. Colorful.
    – Buffy
    Jul 28, 2018 at 0:07
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    The main justification is a theory proposed to me recently: first-generation students are often a success within their family. Second-generation students often have grown up with their parents having the benefit of HE, but not yet having a financial cushion against their failure. So while the first-generation students can make their families proud if they pass, second-generation students can only "continue as before" by passing, or kill the dream if they fail.
    – Mark Green
    Jul 28, 2018 at 0:25
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    @Buffy “Might be interesting” is a perfect reason for asking this question. We are not evaluating a grant proposal here.
    – JeffE
    Jul 28, 2018 at 13:59

1 Answer 1


What you need is studies that control for parental education. If none of them have a university education then they are the first generation, if one of them has a university generation then they are not the first generation. So the "effect" of that variable makes the comparison you are after. Parental education is a fairly standard variable in this literature, so you should be able to find such references quickly enough.

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    Parents receiving high education does not guarantee they are the first generation. They could be the second, or even third generation themselves. Student's parents receiving HE only indicates the student is not the first generation.
    – Nobody
    Jul 30, 2018 at 12:43
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    The OP defined first generation as being the first to enter tertiary education, so parents receiving higher education guarantees they are not the first generation. I suspect you mean "Parents receiving high education does not guarantee they are the second generation.", and add one generation to all mentions of generation afterwards. Jul 30, 2018 at 14:08
  • In that case, that is in principle true, and that is why I said "not the first generation" instead of "second generation". However, in practice when we go that far back in time there are very few people who got that level of education. Maybe in the USA, where you had a noticeable rise in university enrollment after WWII, but in most other places the big rise in university enrollment started around the '60s. Moreover what is the effect of your grandparents or great grandparents on your education after controlling for your parent's education? Jul 30, 2018 at 14:10
  • I mean parents receiving HE does not guarantee the parents themselves are the first generation. The OP is asking studies on students who are second-generation HE.Parental education is not sufficient for that info.
    – Nobody
    Jul 30, 2018 at 14:22
  • BTW, we are not talking about what's happening in Academia. I believe the question is off-topic.
    – Nobody
    Jul 30, 2018 at 14:30

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