Alabama State University's First-Generation College Celebration
Acquanetta M. Pinkard shares Alabama State University's First-Generation College Celebration plans.
An Initiative Of NASPA and The Suder Foundation
First-Generation College Celebration (FGCC) is an annual opportunity to raise awareness of the first-generation college student identity by advancing an asset-based, national narrative of these students’ experiences and outcomes.
Since the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) and the Center for First-generation Student Success launched the inaugural celebration in 2017, hundreds of higher education institutions, corporations, non-profits, and K-12 schools have joined together in recognizing the achievements of the first-gen community on and around November 8.
This year, leverage Celebration Day to deepen your community’s understanding of the systemic barriers plaguing higher education and the supports necessary for this resilient population to continue thriving across education, career, and life.
FGCC is celebrated annually on November 8 to commemorate the signing of the Higher Education Act (“HEA”) of 1965 by then-President Lyndon B. Johnson. This act created federal financial aid programs to fund students’ educations and made key investments in colleges and universities. Many of the HEA’s programs, particularly the Federal TRIO programs, promote postsecondary access, retention, and completion for today’s limited-income, first-generation college students.
FGCC strives not only to celebrate first-gen students’ contributions to their communities but also to occasion systemic social change by dismantling barriers to first-generation student success. Through this intentional advocacy focus, FGCC engages key constituencies in building upon the work left unfinished by the HEA.
Click here to learn more about the HEA, the creation of Federal TRIO programs, and the history of National First-Generation College Celebration.
This year, we encourage you to celebrate the successes of first-generation college students, faculty, staff, alumni, and professionals in every way possible! From launching strategic plans to inviting speakers to lead professional development events for faculty and staff, the possibilities for celebration are endless.
At many institutions and organizations, single-day celebrations have spawned week-long, or even month-long, awareness and advocacy campaigns. Below, you will find everything you need to begin planning your 2023 event(s), including examples from last year’s participants!
Be sure to tag @COEtalk and @FirstgenCenter and use the #CelebrateFirstGen when sharing information about your plans across social media!
To support the many ways that institutional Federal TRIO fund recipients participate in FGCC, COE created this guide, which outlines the applicable regulations for each TRIO project related to Celebration Day. This includes the three areas in which supplies are allowable costs: supplies needed for project recordkeeping, supplies needed for project administration, and supplies needed for participant development, or delivering services to participants.
Each year, the Center and COE co-host event(s) to elevate Celebration Day’s national profile.
The 2022 National First-Generation College Celebration Virtual Event featured a panel, moderated by Dr. Brenda Dann-Messier, discussing the first-generation adult learner identity. Panelists Dr. Kelly Brochu, Matt Donovan, and Dr. Vanessa Sheared reflected upon their unique experiences and shared resources for serving this population.
Stay tuned for more information on our 2023 offerings, which will include both a place-based and virtual opportunity. In the meantime, you can review the full recordings of past events below!
Each year, we’re pleased to award grants to select NASPA- and COE-member institutions to aid them in reaching more first-generation college students or graduates; engaging more stakeholders; launching new first-gen-specific events or initiatives; and/or providing additional services around FGCC.
The 2023 FGCC Grant Opportunity application will open in late spring and close in early August–with funds disbursed to recipients shortly thereafter. Eligible recipients will receive at least $500.00 in unrestricted funds to support their Celebration Day efforts.
Check back soon for additional information on this year’s process, as we’ll be announcing information session dates and resources to support your application soon!
Led by Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Senator Roger Marshall (R-KS), a bipartisan team of senators helped steer S. Res. 437 to passage under unanimous consent, helping to solidify the importance of November 8 as a day to recognize the contributions and accomplishments of first-generation college students. You can view the resolution’s text and list of 19 bipartisan cosponsors below.