UGA Reaffirms Status as First Forward Institution

The University of Georgia recently reaffirmed its status as a first-gen forward institution through the Center for First-Generation Student Success.

The University of Georgia recently reaffirmed its status as a first-gen forward institution through the Center for First-Generation Student Success. The center, an initiative of NASPA and the Suder Foundation, aims to support the rapidly growing first-generation student population in the United States, which is currently almost five million students. The University is one of 187 institutions across the nation with first-gen forward status.

“We are thrilled to be recognized for our efforts to expand educational opportunities for our first-generation students,” said Marisa Pagnattaro, Vice President for Instruction & Senior Vice Provost for Academic Planning. “The University of Georgia has long supported first-generation students through academic and student life programming. We have seen how successful these students can be, and we will continue to advocate for and support our first-generation students.”

The University was originally awarded first-gen forward status in 2019 and has maintained it since then. Part of first-gen forward status includes hosting an annual first-generation student celebration each November. Last year, the Division of Academic Enhancement in partnership with Student Transitions hosted a festival-style celebration with food trucks on Reed Quad. Faculty, staff, and students were able to reflect on what it means to be a first-generation student as well as meet other members of the first-generation community.

This year’s first-generation celebration encompassed several events including a tour of the Special Collections Library, a campus-wide celebration, and the kick-off to a photovoice competition where first-generation students will be able to share their experience on campus through a photo exhibition event.

In addition to the first-generation celebration, DAE also hosts the first-generation graduation celebration, Alpha Alpha Alpha – UGA’s official first-generation honor society, and administers, a website resource.

The Center for First-Generation Student Success is a national initiative of  target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”NASPA: Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education and the Suder Foundation. The Center provides expertise, training, and data to help higher education leaders better serve first-generation students. Their First Scholars model takes a holistic approach that elevates self, success, and significance for first-generation students by providing comprehensive, strengths-based support and assistance to improve academic, personal, and professional outcomes. Importantly, the model also builds a framework for institutions to scale and sustain support for students. UGA reapplies to the program yearly.

For more information on the University’s first-generation efforts, visit

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