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University of Illinois recently named First-Gen Forward

Updated: Sep 6, 2022

By: Nathalie Murillo

Office of Minority Student Affairs at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is honored this year as they officially become a part of 53 named “First-gen Forward” institutions for its efforts and commitment to support first-generation college students.

The nation’s first recognition program to acknowledge higher education institutions who are actively dedicated to the advancement of first-generation students in college, First-gen Forward now proudly adds the University of Illinois to the list of higher education professionals.

Being the first in the family to pursue a college degree presents many challenges, and the Office of Minority Student Affairs (OMSA) at the University of Illinois understands this fully as they continuously dedicate themselves to supporting struggling first-gen students.

A statement released by Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Danita M. Brown Young explains how the University now joins a community of professionals who are “prepared to share evidence-based practices and resources, troubleshoot challenges, generate knowledge, and continue to advance the success of first-generation students across the United States”.

The objective of First-gen Forward is straightforward: to equip and provide resources for the success and completion of degree for students who are first in their family to go to pursue higher education.

“With OMSA's guidance, a wide array of students who identify as first-generation, low-income, and/or historically underrepresented receive exceptional support services that enhance their academic achievement, personal development, and graduation rates” explains Young.

“It is the vision of the OMSA to transform the lives for first-generation, low-income, and historically underrepresented students.”

The office currently partners with academic deans and advisors within the university to offer academic support and events for these students to attend, as well as various programs primarily made for first-generation students.

Recognized by the Center of First-generation Student Success, the University will now be able to expand their current programs, as well as create and establish new ones that ensure first-gen student success during their time at the University.

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