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College joins national celebration of 'First-Gen' students

Augustana College will celebrate National First-Generation College Student Day Nov. 8. First-Gen Day celebrates students who will be the first generation in their family to graduate from college.

The college has 450 first-generation students enrolled making up nearly a fifth of the student population. 

First-Gen Day was created by Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education to draw awareness to the unique issues faced by first-generation students and the benefits of welcoming first-gen students to college. 

“As a first-generation college student, I didn’t know what I didn’t know,” said Dr. Wendy Hilton-Morrow, Augustana provost and  a 1994 Augustana graduate. “It was difficult to navigate this path when my family had not themselves taken it.” 

Dr. Hilton-Morrow’s difficulties are not unusual in the life of a first-gen student. The Postsecondary National Policy Institute reports that first-generation students showed less college readiness than their non-first generation peers, putting them at an increased risk of leaving college. 

“Augustana has a number of deliberate and intentional support services in place to serve all students,” said Dr. Hilton-Morrow, “So many of the services are especially critical to the support and retention of first-gen students.”

Colleges celebrate on Nov. 8 in honor of the anniversary of the Higher Education Act of 1965, which created special federal grant and loan programs as well as the federal TRIO student support services program. Augustana received a $1.3 million federal grant in 2020 to launch a TRIO program. 

I would tell first-gen students to not filter out majors based on what will make you the most money. Pursue an education that aligns with your interests, capabilities, and the future careers that excite you.

Sal Navarro '18, works in marketing, majored in political science and communication studies

Augustana celebrations

Nov. 4, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. in  the Gerber Center, Brew by the Slough: First-generation students, faculty and staff are invited to sign a banner that will be visible to the community, and write a personal note of encouragement to first-generation students that will be shared with them on Nov. 8.

Nov. 8, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in the Brew: Stop by  and pick up a special Augie 1Gen sticker.

Nov. 8, 2 p.m. in the You Belong Lounge (Gerber 420): Celebrate at a reception for students with remarks by President Steve Bahls and Jane Bahls. Refreshments provided).  

Want to support current and future first-gen students with things like books, class expenses or financial assistance? A donor has set up a special fund that does just that. 


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