Date of Award


Degree Type

TPG Capstone Project (Taught Postgraduate Project)


Sociology and Social Policy


Prof. OLIVOS RAVE Francisco Javier


In China and the United States, with the expansion of higher education, more and more people have become the first-generation of college students in their families. However, while gaining opportunities for social upward mobility, they also face many challenges, and the formation of these challenges is related to their multiple identities. In China, these challenges are more related to regional development differences, while in the United States, they are more impacted by identities such as immigrants and ethnic minorities. At the same time, the governments, universities, and society of both countries have introduced various policies to support first-generation college students, typical formats of which include admission preference, financial support, and intervention program. These policies have different audiences’ classification methods. In China, most of them are classified based on income levels, regional conditions, and ethnic identities. However, in the United States, many policies are specifically conducted for the first-generation college students. Combining primary and secondary data, this study will conduct a thematic analysis on the challenges of first-generation college students in China and the United States as well as the response effects of relevant policies. Through the comparison between the two cases, implications for policy classification methods will also be proposed.


First-generation college students, China, the US, challenges, policy response, classification



Recommended Citation

Cheng, K. (2023). Challenges and responses: The impact of classification methods of policies on first-generation college students in China and the US (TPG Capstone Project, Lingnan University, Hong Kong). Retrieved from

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