First Generation rating a first for The Good Universities Guide

For the very first time, The Good Universities Guide will feature a brand-new ‘First Generation’ five-star rating.

The Good Universities Guide 2019, released today by Good Education Media, includes a new rating category in which the guide compares universities by the proportion of the student cohort who are the first in their family to pursue tertiary education.

Good Education Media CEO Chris Lester believes the latest rating offers students a more holistic perspective of universities, rather than just how they perform in the academic and research space.

“The First Generation metric applies to students whose parents did not study beyond Year 12 and provides a good indication of which universities are delivering educational opportunities to demographics that are traditionally underrepresented,” says Mr Lester.

The Good Universities Guide 2019 rated nine institutions as achieving five stars for First Generation, spearheaded by Federation University, where 44 per cent of students are the first in their family to attend university.

Universities awarded five-stars for ‘First Generation’

Source: The Good Universities Guide 2019

Professor Andy Smith, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) of Federation University Australia said he was extremely proud to serve tertiary students throughout regional Victoria and beyond as they embark on their tertiary education journey.

“Our high teaching quality and strong graduate satisfaction entice many First Generation students to our campuses. Students appreciate our mentor programs and student welfare services, all of which have our First Generation students front and centre,” says Professor Smith.

While it’s positive to see universities attracting more First Generation students, with more than 50 per cent of Australian tertiary education students the first in their family to go to university, 26 per cent of this cohort is reported as considering leaving university within their first year of study.

Sarah O’Shea, an Associate Professor in Adult, Vocational and Higher Education in the School of Education from the University of Wollongong, has conducted hundreds of interviews and surveys as part of a 2015 study to provide more insight into the university experience for first in family students.

“First in family students often have additional pressures to contend with in their higher education journey,” says Dr O’Shea.

“These can include reassuring family members they have made the right choice, being a role model for others in the family and community and not having someone close to them whom they can approach for advice or support.”

Ty Archibald

Ty Archibald was the first in his family to graduate university with a business degree from the University of New England and now works as a Research Associate for Westpac.

“There is a big income gap between the city and country, but also an education gap. I’d like to help improve financial literacy in the country,” says Mr Archibald.

“I’m the first in my family to complete a tertiary degree. My goals when I started were to study overseas and to move to a city to join a graduate program, and I’ve achieved both.”

“My younger brother and sister are now well advanced in their business studies at UNE. Like me, they’ve had a lot of great teachers and mentors. Studying at a smaller regional university enables you to develop better connections and to tap into the professional expertise of staff. It also allowed me to save to study abroad.”

The Good Universities Guide is produced by Good Education Media, Australia’s leading provider of independent education ratings and information. The Guide is available online via the Good Education Bookshop and through selected newsagents. For more information visit

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Characteristics: First Generation

Source: The Good Universities Guide 2019

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