The B.A. Breakthrough Videos
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The B.A. Breakthrough: A First-Generation Student Talks About Her Challenges

April 15, 2019

Just 11 percent of low-income and first-generation students go on to complete college within six years of leaving high school. In a new documentary, Richard Whitmire talks about the themes of his new book, “The B.A. Breakthrough,” which argues that reversing these kinds of diploma disparities could be the advent of “the most effective anti-poverty program ever launched in this country,” and celebrates places across the country where this breakthrough is already happening — from innovative K-12 schools, many of them public charters, to elite colleges like UCLA, to creative nonprofits like the College Advising Corps.

Here, Queen Kwembe, a first-generation college student who emigrated from Africa with her family, talks about the challenges most other students don’t face on their road to graduation.

— Edited by Jim Fields; Produced by Jim Fields & Emmeline Zhao