Capital One Launches First-Gen Focus, a New Student Program

Capital One launches First-Gen Focus, a new national program dedicated to supporting 1st year, first-generation college students

Unprecedented. Unpredictable. Uncertain. Sound familiar? 

Heading into the new school year, members of the Classes of 2021-25 have seen and heard these words used to describe the road ahead for them. College students will face challenges this semester (and beyond) that will impact their financial futures. According to a survey by Capital One, 2 out of 3 college students surveyed are worried that the coronavirus pandemic will impact their personal growth, preparation for life on their own and are worried it will impact career prospects for years to come. These challenges are real and are different from what previous generations have had to overcome. Simply put, college students could use some help.

As a student during the coronavirus pandemic, 66% of college students surveyed say they feel unprepared to be financially independent without the help of their parents. Also, 74% of first-gen college students surveyed wished their school or financial institution would connect them with people like them who are struggling with college and career-related questions.

That’s where we come in. At Capital One, we’re in your corner and want to help you harness these challenges to create a path toward personal, financial and professional independence. 

Announcing a new, nationwide first-generation college student program 

With this spirit in mind, today marks the launch of First-Gen Focus, a first-of-its-kind, nationwide program. We hope it will commence a yearlong journey for 1st year first-generation college students to matriculate at a college or university, while gaining greater confidence in their financial well-being, career readiness, and personal wellness.

“First-Gen Focus is a program designed specifically for first-generation college students, who often face distinct challenges in their college career that have been intensified as a result of the pandemic,” says Shavonne Gordon, Vice President, Diversity Recruiting at Capital One. “This program serves as part of Capital One’s broader effort to engage students earlier in their college careers to create access to financial education and skill-building workshops to help them be more successful in their college careers and beyond."  

How First-Gen Focus will help 1st year, first-generation college students 

Here’s what students, parents, and educators need to know about the program: 

  • The Capital One First-Gen Focus program supports and helps 1st year first-generation college students create pathways for a sustainable financial future through free resources revolving around three core program pillars: Financial Well-Being, Personal Wellness, and Career Readiness & Persistence. The free year-round program will support students through virtual workshops, access to mentors, and career exploration experiences.
  • Incoming or 1st year, first-generation college students (meaning: neither parent has a four-year degree) who will graduate with a Bachelor’s degree between December 2023 and August 2025 can apply at

As part of our programming, college students will have the opportunity to hear from our Mentor Partners this evening (Sept. 15, 5-6:30 p.m. EST) about their personal experiences within our three core pillars: 

Our mentor partners will be joined by Capital One’s Shavonne Gordon and Chris Gatz, Credit Officer and VP of Business Analysis.

First-Gen Focus is one of several commitments from Capital One to create pathways and opportunities for the student community. Most recently, the Capital One Foundation awarded Common App a $900,000 grant to enable Common App, AdmitHub, and College Advising Corps to continue their texting campaign to 173,000 low-income and first-generation students. Other initiatives include partnerships with: iMentor, a national program that builds mentoring relationships between high school students and professional mentors to set future goals; EduSaveDC, a savings program designed to empower parents and guardians to save for their child’s future education; and Coders, a volunteer program where Capital One associates teach middle students about problem solving, teachwork and software development.



About the Capital One College Student Survey  

This poll was conducted between July 21 and July 27, 2020 among a national sample of 1000 College Students (Age 18-23), 250 Parents of children (Age 18-23), 250 Parents of Students (Age 18-23) and 500 Educators / Administrators in secondary and higher education. Of the 1000 College Students (Age 18-23), 272 respondents identified as First Generation. The interviews were conducted online and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of College Students (Age 18-23), Parents of children (Age 18-23), Parents of College Students (Age 18-23) and Educators based on age, gender, educational attainment, race, and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Results from the First Generation subsample have a margin or error of plus or minus 6 percentage points.

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