Part of Michigan State University’s land-grant mission is a commitment to expanding opportunities for a diverse population of learners, including first-generation college students.
To be the first member of a family to pursue and complete a college degree is an achievement worthy of recognition, as the journey to that moment often covers challenging and unfamiliar territory.
Nov. 8 is designated as First-generation College Celebration day by the Council for Opportunity in Education and the Center for First-generation Student Success. The date marks the anniversary of the Higher Education Act of 1965, which was intended to provide opportunities for many minority and low-income Americans.
Michigan State is one of 11 large public research universities working together to increase graduation rates for low-income, minority and first-generation students as part of the University Innovation Alliance. With first-generation students accounting for more than 15% of last year’s entering class, a 90% retention rate for first-year students and a record-high graduation rate of 81%, MSU continues to increase access, opportunity and successful outcomes.
MSU programs such as Trio Student Support Services and the Neighborhood Student Success Collaborative provide first-generation students with assistance in navigating the university system, building academic skills and engaging in meaningful academic and life experiences.
Read about the experiences of some first-generation Spartan students as well as faculty members who were the first in their families to earn a college degree.