About First-gen Forward

The Center for First-generation Student Success, launched in June 2017, is the premier source of evidence-based practices, professional development, and knowledge creation for the higher education community to advance the success of first-generation students. In continuing this mission, the Center launched First-gen Forward, the nation's first designation program acknowledging higher education institutions for their commitment to first-generation student success.

There are currently 277 First-gen Forward Institutions represented by dedicated professionals prepared to share evidence-based practices and resources, address challenges, generate knowledge, and continue to advance the success of first-generation students across the United States.

Beginning in Summer 2022, First-gen Forward became integrated into First Scholars - the Center’s signature offering - as Phase I of that experience. First Scholars Phase I signifies a formalized institutional commitment to build a foundational understanding of first-generation student success through peer networking, shared knowledge and resources, and establishing community. Following successful completion of First Scholars Phase I, institutions will earn the First-gen Forward Designation. At this time, institutions will also be given the opportunity to apply for First Scholars Phase II, or may commit to reaffirming their designation as a First-gen Forward Institution every three years. 

LEARN MORE ABOUT FIRST SCHOLARS

Eligibility Requirements

  • Be an active, accredited, two-year or four-year institution of higher education, and located within the United States;

  • Be a NASPA Institutional member and the primary institutional contact must be a professional member;

  • Secure senior leadership support and commitment to participation;

  • Designate a minimum of two currently employed faculty and/or staff, plus at least one senior leader,  to serve as the First-gen Forward Core Team (additional faculty/staff are welcome to participate in programming);

  • Commit to fulfilling the items outlined in the Required Experience section below.

Benefits of Participation

Participants from selected institutions will have opportunities to engage with a national cohort of institutions as well as a regional community of colleagues who are in geographic proximity to their institution. While earning the First-gen Forward Designation during First Scholars Phase I, institutions will:

  • Receive public identification as a First Scholars Phase I institution detailing a commitment to seek the First-gen Forward Designation;
  • Be featured on the Center's website and at select NASPA conferences;
  • Benefit from deeper engagement in the 16,000+ member NASPA network;
  • Engage with peer institutions across the country willing to offer support, share resources and evidence-based practices, and celebrate program successes;
  • Engage in professional development that strengthens the campus knowledge base;
  • Receive reports and feedback through the annual report process;
  • Receive an institutional feature blog on the Center's website;
  • Receive first-look access to new Center reports to advance knowledge on first-generation student success;

 


Upon successful achievement of the First-gen Forward Designation at the completion of First Scholars Phase I, institutions will in addition receive:

  • An official designation logo for use with institutional online and print materials;
  • A  template for a campus press release announcing your institutional accomplishment;
  • An official notification letter to institution leadership from NASPA President, Dr. Kevin Kruger, celebrating this achievement;
  • The opportunity to apply for First Scholars Phase II, or may commit to reaffirming their designation as a First-gen Forward Institution every three years.

 

Required Experiences

 
  • PHASE I REQUIREMENTS

    TO ACHIEVE THE FIRST-GEN FORWARD DESIGNATION DURING FIRST SCHOLARS PHASE I, THE FOLLOWING REQUIREMENTS MUST BE ACHIEVED:

    • Attend the First-gen Forward Kick-Off

    • Submit institutional goals to the Center

    • Attend monthly First-gen Forward Community Meetings 

    • Complete three (3) Center Online Learning Events

    • Write and submit an Institution Blog for the Center’s website

    • Host a First-generation College Celebration event

    • Attend a First Scholars Phase II Interest Meeting

    • Submit Annual Report

     

  • FIRST-GEN FORWARD DESIGNATION: REAFFIRMATION

    TO MAINTAIN THE FIRST-GEN FORWARD DESIGNATION, INSTITUTIONS WILL ENGAGE IN A THREE-YEAR REAFFIRMATION PROCESS THAT REQUIRES INSTITUTIONS TO ANNUALLY:

    • Submit institutional goals to the Center;

    • Attend a minimum of (4) monthly Regional Community Meetings;

    • Complete three (3) Center Online Learning Events;

    • Host a First-generation College Celebration event;

    • Attend a First Scholars Phase II Interest Meeting;

    • Submit Annual Report;

     

  • ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITIES
    • Institutions will receive access to an online community hub to connect with other First-gen Forward institutions across the country

    • A series of knowledge building and professional development RISE modules are open to any First-gen Forward institution for engagement as desired and at no cost

Application Overview

We invite you to submit the Interest Form below so we can stay connected with updates and ways to engage with the Center for First-generation Student Success . We will begin offering opportunities to learn more about the First Scholars Network in early 2023. In the meantime, we invite you to utilize the Center's resources, follow us on social media @FirstgenCenter, and reach out at [email protected] with other questions. Thanks for your commitment to serving first-generation students! 

First-gen Foward Interest Form

Leadership Opportunities

Engagement with Regional Communities is a hallmark of the First-gen Forward experience and offers institutions an opportunity to engage with peers who may be navigating similar regional politics, recruitment and enrollment trends, or related challenges impacting the student experience, and with whom may be nearby enough to partner. Each Regional Community is guided by a group of First-gen Forward Advisory Institutions. The First-gen Forward Advisory Designation signals a continued commitment to first-generation student success and allows participants to offer leadership support and mentoring to other First-gen Forward Institutions.The Advisory Designation also comes with additional recognition for the selected campus.