Best 11 College Programs for First-Generation Students in 2024

If being a first-generation college student has you feeling a bit overwhelmed, have no fear!  The college of your choice may already provide the academic, financial, and social resources needed to put your mind at ease. They may even have first-generation-targeted programs to ensure you are connected to those resources and other first-generation students!

Here are 11 colleges and the programs they offer first-gen students:


UCLA’s First To Go program promotes the on-campus visibility and involvement of first-generation college students by hosting networking eventsadvertising first-generation student faculty, and maintaining a first-gen student alumni network.

They also provide first-gen students with an inclusive living center dubbed First to Go Living Learning Community (LLC).  

What are the qualifications? Well, residents don’t need to be a first-generation student, all you need is a passion build a successful and enjoyable community of students. Community sure does run strong with this one! 


Cornell’s Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives (OADI) developed a first-gen student-targeted roundtable discussion dubbed First-in-Class (FIC).  These discussions provide the opportunity for students to share their goals while also connecting them with available opportunities and resources. 

If you happen to be checking out Cornell, visit OADI’s on-campus center to learn more.


Yale’s The Community Initiative seeks to mitigate the culture shock felt by first-gen students by facilitating critical discourse and connecting students with resources. 

Headed by Yale’s Woodbridge Fellow, the initiative is to help first-gen students get what they need to be successful at school. 


The Undocumented, First Generation, Undocumented, and Low-Income Student Center (U-FLi Center) at Brown provides a space that truly understands the intersectionality of identities. 

The center provides a communal space dedicated to learning and advocacy. These efforts resulted in a year-long community enrichment program dubbed the FLi Scholars.


First-generation students at Harvard have their own students dedicated to building a community, easing the transition into college, and advocating for themselves and other students. 

The Harvard College First Generation Student Union (FGSU) also educates the campus on barriers faced by first-generation college students to reduce stigma and raise awareness.  Great job, Vardians!


Williams First seeks to support all students who are the first in their family to head off to college.  This encompasses everything from supplying students with resources to assisting them with moving into the dorms for the first time. 

If you’re a first-gen student, you’ll have access to a pre-orientation, Williams First student board, conferences, and a reflective graduation ceremony.


UPENN’s Greenfield Intellectual Center (GIC) houses The First-Generation, Low-Income Program (FGLI)

The FGLI program combats isolation by developing a sense of community. Newly established, having only been founded in 2016, the program accepts donations from the public.


CSU’s First Generation University Initiative (FGUI) actively engages faculty and staff in the inter-departmental development and implementation of first-generation student support strategies. This initiative came to fruition after University President Tony Frank requested faculty and staff to identify if they were first-generation college graduates. 

Now, the initiative has four subcommitteesonline accounts of being a first-generation student, and even a webpage to teach others how to empower their first-gen students!


The Center of Diversity and Student Leadership (CDSL) hosts annual first-generation college student programs and events to foster a sense of community and connect students with the resources offered. These include a family reception, student reception, an institute highlight first-generation student socio-cultural capital, and a commencement dinner for graduating students. 

Visit the CDSL website to learn more about these resources and further connect with the First Generation Student Association.


UChicago’s First Generation. Low Income, and Immigrant (FLI) Network actively connects students, teachers, and faculty in a concerted effort to foster inclusivity. In tandem with offering a sense of community, UChicago offers first-generation students the opportunity to graduate debt-free. 

If first-generation students are not covered by UChicago’s No Barriers policy, which ensures in-need students graduate debt-free, they offer $20,000 over 4-years through the Empower Initiative

Check UChicago’s admission website for more information about financial resources, the application process, and campus-life.


The Diversity and First-Gen (DGen) Office affirms intersectionality and fosters intergroup relationships by supporting students’ academic and social transition into college. 

Efforts of the office include an orientation-panel discussion, graduate student mentorship program, opportunity fund, and research and community service grant. If Stanford holds your academic future, visit the website to learn more about the programs offered.


Don’t see your school? That doesn’t mean they don’t have a program. Contact your admin office for information on programs offered.

Also check out: How to Navigate FAFSA as a First-Generation Student: Tips and Tricks

How to Navigate FAFSA as a First-Generation Student: Tips and Tricks
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