Financial Challenges Facing First-Gen College Students

Capital One helps college students overcome challenges and create a sustainable financial future through free resources

Adjo Evonlah, a 19-year-old second-year college student, is a first-generation college student with concerns about finding a job or getting laid off from one without having built an emergency rainy day fund. 

She’s not alone. A survey conducted by Capital One found that two out of three college students surveyed are worried that the coronavirus pandemic will impact their personal growth, preparation for life on their own and career prospects for years to come. Wanting to get ahead of those fears, Evonlah has been diligent about jump-starting her credit journey and overcoming struggles unique to a first generation college student.

“As a minority and female, I often feel that I have to work twice as hard to achieve what my counterparts do,” said Evonlah. “I’m setting goals to build my credit and graduate from college debt-free by 2023 with a bachelor’s degree and zero dollars in loans.”

Giving Students the Tools to Manage Financial Stress

Evonlah equipped herself with the financial education skills to prepare for adulthood and beyond through Capital One’s First-Gen Focus (FGF) program. The program supports and helps 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 and persistence. The free year-round program supports students like Evonlah through virtual workshops, access to more than 50 mentors from Capital One and career exploration experiences. In 2021, Capital One supported 79 FGF participants.

First-Gen Focus is one of several commitments from Capital One to create pathways and opportunities for the student community. Other initiatives include partnerships like EduSaveDC, a savings program designed to empower parents and guardians to save for their child’s future education and Capital One Coders, a volunteer program where Capital One associates teach middle students about problem solving, teachwork and software development.

That support comes as part of the Capital One Impact Initiative — an initial $200 million, multi-year commitment that strives to advance socioeconomic mobility. Launched in October 2020, the Capital One Impact Initiative seeks to create a world where everyone has an equal opportunity to prosper through advocating for an inclusive society, building thriving communities and creating financial tools that enrich lives.

Managing Finances as a First-Generation College Student

Capital One also supports students by creating products to help them get ahead. That includes a suite of credit card products for students, enabling more ways for students to earn rewards and build credit. 

With the addition of two new student cards, including SavorOne Student and Quicksilver Student, students can now choose from three Capital One student cards that offer cash back on purchases with no annual fee. The SavorOne Student credit card enables cardholders to automatically earn unlimited 3 percent cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and grocery stores and the Quicksilver Student credit card enables cardholders to earn unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase. 

Related Content


Capital One Launches Flagship Student Rewards Credit Cards

New SavorOne Rewards for Students and Quicksilver Rewards for Students offer enhanced choices for students to earn rewards