Frequently Asked Questions


What is Go College! Now?

Go College Now is part of the Go College! initiative, an unprecedented partnership with First Generation and Wells Fargo to help close the education gap for underrepresented students. Today, half of all 21 million college students are first generation students. Go College! Now provides an innovative bilingual platform for students, parents, guidance counselors and educational advocates to get involved with the issue of college access, retention, and graduation for all Americans.

Visit the About Go College! page to learn more about this exciting initiative. And Click HERE to join our mailing list for updates on First Generation and the Go College! initiative.


Why should I care about college access and success?

The growing education gap between rich and poor in the US is cause for concern. It is both a social justice issue as well as an economic one.

“Higher education attainment results in greater individual earning power,” according to Lumina Foundation, the nation’s largest private foundation focused solely on increasing Americans’ success in higher education. “In fact, a worker with a bachelor’s degree earns 84 percent more than a worker without a degree – an average value of $2.8 million over the course of a lifetime. And the value of individual attainment is also key to our national economic prosperity because research shows that more than two-thirds of all U.S. jobs will require a postsecondary degree or credential by 2018.”

By providing greater postsecondary access and success for all Americans, we build stronger economies, thriving communities, and a greater quality of life. It’s clear that higher education remains the best avenue to prosperity, opportunity and a stronger nation.


Why is Wells Fargo sponsoring the Go College! initiative?

Nationwide, Wells Fargo is known as one of the most generous companies in the U.S. The company contributes over a quarter of a billion dollars to nonprofits a year. In the area of education, Wells Fargo believes everyone deserves access to a high-quality education, and it’s one of the most important ways we can help our communities become economically self-sufficient.

As part of the organization’s commitment to education, Wells Fargo’s community investments in 2013 included $81.6 million to education non-profits in the U.S. In 2013, team members donated more than $23 million to educational organizations and schools, which were matched dollar for dollar, up to $5,000 per team member — for an additional $20 million. In 2013, Wells Fargo contributed $10 million to organizations that improve education, help to close the student achievement gap, provide access to higher education for financial aid-eligible students, and provide access to financial education and community development programs and services. These organizations are: Asian Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund, Hispanic Scholarship Fund, NAACP, National Council of La Raza, National Urban League, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, United Negro College Fund, Point Foundation, Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Citizen Education Fund, and U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC).

A college education can change not just a life but the prospect of an entire community. By working with First Generation Films, Wells Fargo hopes to plant the seeds of hope in America’s first generation students and make the prospects of achieving higher education a reality.


How do I get a DVD of First Generation?

Thanks to the generous sponsorship of Wells Fargo, First Generation is provided at no cost via online streaming. Click HERE to watch the film.

However, we understand that some viewers may prefer a hard copy for screening purposes, home use or their educational library. To find out how you can obtain a DVD, please visit Three Frame Media.


How do I contact the First Generation filmmakers and/or cast?

For press relations, speaking engagements and other inquiries please contact Three Frame Media.


What does the term “first generation” mean?

We define “first generation” as anyone who is the first in his or her immediate family to obtain a four-year college degree.


What was the inspiration behind First Generation?

The idea for First Generation was inspired by co-director/producer Jaye Fenderson’s time working as a senior admissions officer at Columbia University where she learned that less than 10% of students at the top 146 universities in the nation hailed from low-income families. Jaye moved to Los Angeles where she created and produced ABC’s primetime docudrama The Scholar and met her soon-to-be husband and producing partner Adam Fenderson. Armed with Adam’s background in filmmaking, the two first-time directors set out to follow four low-income high school students in hopes of shedding light on the social inequalities faced by those who are first in their families to go to college.


How were the students featured in First Generation selected?

Because the film was low-budget and the filmmakers had other full-time jobs throughout production, the cast of the film had to be located within two hours driving distance from where the filmmakers lived and worked in Los Angeles. In the casting process, over 100 students were interviewed from California schools where more than 70% of the student body was on free and reduced lunch. The intent was to find students who had the grades and desire to go to a four-year university but whose parents had not completed a degree beyond high school. The focus was on students who had between a 2.5 and 3.9 GPA given the fact that research shows that low-income and first generation students within that range often don’t make it to college while, on the contrary, wealthier students with the same academic profile do.


Where are the First Generation cast members now?

In the film you see the journey of Cecilia, Dontay, Jess, and Keresoma as they navigate the last two years of high school and strive to be the first in their families to go to college. To find out what happened in each of these students lives after the cameras stopped rolling, download the First Generation screening guide.


Who should watch First Generation?

The film has been widely screened for high school & middle school students, colleges & universities, educators, policy makers, and college access advocates.

When shown to students the film has been called “a pep rally for the college conversation.” Students are able to relate to the stories they see on screen, learn from the cast’s mistakes and successes, and realize that college is a possibility no matter your background.

Teachers, counselors, professors, and higher education administrators have used the film in workshops and for employee training and development.

Colleges and universities have shown the film to their students, faculty and administration to foster discussion about best practices to support first generation and low-income student retention and success.

To get more information on how to bring First Generation to your school, organization, business, or community, visit Host a Screening.


What is the difference between the feature length and one-hour version of First Generation?

The 60-min version of First Generation was created to provide greater flexibility for teachers and screening hosts who would like to show the film within a limited timeframe.  There are some small story lines that were removed (specifically Cecilia moving to Tennessee and Dontay not having $1000 after he decides to go to Sacramento State) as well as a handful of expert interviews.  The 95-min film also has a follow up with the students 9 months after graduation; the 60-min film has short cast updates in paragraph form at the end of the film.


Where did the funding to make the film First Generation come from?

First Generation is a passion project many years in the making. Initially self-funded by the filmmakers, production was made possible through generous donations from family, friends, and champions of the cause, along with the incredible support of Chris & Stacy Ekstein, Principals at Market Street Productions. Once production wrapped and a first cut of the film was completed, Lumina Foundation provided the funds to get the film ready for festivals and educational screenings across the country.


How did Wells Fargo get involved with First Generation Films?

In 2012, Wells Fargo Education Financial Services sponsored high school and community screenings of the award winning documentary First Generation in San Antonio, TX through a local non-profit. Based on the success and overwhelming positive student responses, Wells Fargo and First Generation Films collaborated to launch Go College! a national education initiative to share the film and the message that college is possible to over 22,000 thousand students, parents, educators and civic and community leaders in 12 major cities across the United States throughout 2014 and 2015.


People often think about banks as a place to open up checking accounts, how can Wells Fargo help with planning for college?

At tuitionfundingsources.com students may sign up for free customized scholarships. Tuition Funding Sources provides access to over 7 million scholarships for high school, undergraduate, and graduate students totaling more than $41 billion in awards. Students may obtain information on new scholarships daily by following TFS Scholarships on Facebook and Twitter. Tuition Funding sources started in 1987 and is exclusively sponsored by Wells Fargo.

Wells Fargo’s CollegeSTEPS® program provides timely, helpful college planning and money management tips for parents and students, including how to: find scholarships opportunities, apply for financial aid, make campus visits, save and budget, and how to manage student loans. To learn more go to: http://wellsfargo.com/collegesteps

Additionally, Wells Fargo has developed Hands on Banking® a free financial education program that provides real-world skills and knowledge everyone can use. To learn more go to: handsonbanking.org


Student loan debt continues to be a newsworthy topic in the media. With student loan debt exceeding $1 trillion and a slow job market for recent graduates, does it still make sense for students to incur debt to earn a college degree when the job market is still recovering?

Higher education is a worthy investment, and student loans, when borrowed responsibly, can be a helpful tool for making that investment in yourself. According to a 2013 College Board report, Education Pays “the evidence is overwhelming that for most people, education beyond high school is a prerequisite for a secure lifestyle and significantly improves the probabilities of employment and a stable career with a positive earnings trajectory. It also provides tools that help people to live healthier and more satisfying lives, to participate actively in civil society, and to create opportunities for their children.”

In addition, a 2013 report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York revealed, “College graduates have lower unemployment rates, fare better during recessions, and enjoy wages roughly double those of high school graduates.”


Are you saying that everyone should go to college?

College is not the right choice for everyone, but our message is that all students should have the tools and resources they need to make an informed decision about furthering their education beyond high school.


College may be expensive. How can students learn about their options for planning and paying for college?

Students and families should explore all of their options including grants, scholarships, and loans from all sources and make careful comparisons among their choices.

Wells Fargo is committed to helping customers meet their educational goals. The company provides helpful informational and educational tools and resources to help students and families plan for this critical financial moment in their lives. For example, Wells Fargo’s 5 Steps to Financial Aid guide provides information and tools to help students complete the FAFSA, estimate their college costs, determine additional expenses, explore financing options, and know their deadlines. For more information about Wells Fargo’s free college planning resources contact Wells Fargo.


What can I do to help?

As a society, we have a collective responsibility to ensure that a college education is equally obtainable for all students. As individuals we can each play a role in making a difference by spending our time, resources, money and/or talents to create a college-going culture.

Check out our Resources for specific ways to get involved. Then Take the Pledge to commit to increasing the number of college degree-holders in our country and creating a culture that responds to the needs of low-income, first generation students.