Committed to First-generation College Students
Furman University's First Scholars recognition affirms the work the university has embarked on to serve first-generation students.
First Scholars is an ecosystem of processes, tools, and guidance designed to work with your institution’s specific environment.
A community of institutional partners committed to transforming the higher education landscape in ways that elevate potential and advance outcomes for first-generation students today and in the future. Through a number of engagement opportunities, this network will maximize learning opportunities across a broad, diverse, ever-expanding set of institutions.
The First Scholars Framework is intentionally grounded in higher education scholarship and evidence-based practical application, thereby increasing successful outcomes for first-generation students and the institutions that serve them. This Framework consists of both evidence-based approaches to holistic first-generation student success, referred to as student-centered actionable outcomes, and strategic, institution-level shifts, referred to as institution-focus actionable outcomes. Each actionable outcome is an overarching goal by which the institution can measure its success. This integrated framework, and the outcomes within, are designed to be nimble and reflective of the mission and strategic priorities of the Institution.
Expert Guidance and Tailored Resources are hallmark offerings of the First Scholars experience. Expert Guidance provides step-by-step guidance to assist institutions in evaluating areas of success for scaling and gap areas for growth. Personalized support occurs across the lifespan of the initiative. Expert guidance is designed to meet you where you are and help you move forward. Tailored Resources provide a network of scholars, higher education professionals, and association partners who can provide expertise in a variety of content-related areas that align institutional needs with goals.
The Institutional Readiness Assessment serves as a data collection mechanism that determines your institution’s readiness for engagement in First Scholars. This assessment also informs our approach to tailoring your institution’s Expert Guidance and plays a role in informing what actionable outcomes an institution should focus time and resources on.
The Insights Tool provides a deep dive into how an institution programmatically serves first-generation students and how systemically prepared the institution is too advanced efforts to further support first-generation students. Consisting of a variety of institutional affiliated modules, the Insights Tool supports full engagement of the institutional community. Upon completion of the Insights Tool, the institution receives a robust report with recommendations and a site visit by the institutions Expert Guidance team to further discuss implementation and goal alignment.
First Scholars Solutions include the First Scholars Network Learning Hub and First Scholars Toolkits. The Network Learning Hub offers access to curated resources, articles, and online learning as well as institution-specific reports and opportunities for peer-to-peer communication and sharing.
First Scholars Toolkits are pre-packaged, turn-key approaches for implementing a program or service with ease. Toolkits cover a wide variety of topics and are structured with multiple deployment methods in mind.
Reserved for Network members and is a benefit of membership
For over a decade, The Suder Foundation generously provided scholarship funds to support the holistic success of first-generation college students at select institutions. In partnership with scholarship funds, students also participated in the original First Scholars comprehensive, cohort-based model designed to provide holistic student support services across their academic career and to prepare them for success post-completion. First Scholars® has evolved to more closely align with the transformational vision of its founders, Eric and Deborah Suder, who have devoted their life’s work to driving systemic innovation for first-generation students.
The First Scholars Network fulfills that vision by creating a multi-faceted approach to student success on a nationally scalable level. With the Center for First-generation Student Success® (Center) opening in June 2017, the First Scholars Network is poised to become the Center’s signature scaling model and the first-of-its-kind specific to the first-generation population.
Currently, we are not accepting new institutions into the First Scholars Network. However, if you would like your institution to be considered for the upcoming cohort, please complete this form.