Central selected for inaugural first-gen student cohort


Central Connecticut State University will continue to build up its support services for first-generation college students as a proud new member of the First Scholars national cohort.

Powered by the Center for First-generation Student Success, the First Scholars Network is a four-phase approach that allows institutions of higher education to advance outcomes by establishing communities of practice, gaining knowledge of resources, and establishing peer networks. The center selected Central based on its demonstrated commitment to advancing the outcomes of first-generation students.

To date, 349 institutions of higher education have entered the network, representing 49 states and the District of Columbia. 

First Scholars serves as the center’s customized approach to intentional institutional transformation to advance student outcomes. This work establishes an environment where direct student supports can be established, scaled, and sustained. Using a continuous improvement framework, First Scholars provides diagnostic tools; customized solutions; and turnkey toolkits, robust data reporting, and expert guidance throughout the experience.

Upon meeting milestones in the First Scholars phase, institutions are eligible to earn the Champion Campus designation.

More than 40 percent of Central's enrolled first-year undergraduates are first-generation students. Central is among a growing group of nationally recognized universities that specialize in support for first-generation students. The Center for First-generation Student Success named Central a First-Gen Forward institution in 2022. The designation recognizes institutions of higher education that have demonstrated a commitment to improving experiences and advancing outcomes of first-generation college students. 

 “First Scholars institutions have demonstrated this commitment at the highest level on campus.”

“After seeing such exciting network progress and leadership, the center is pleased to welcome Central as a new First Scholars institution,” said Dr. Sarah E. Whitley, vice president with the Center for First-generation Student Success. “Through every step, it was evident that Central is not only invested in serving first-generation students, but it is prepared to make a long-term commitment to change the way first-generation students are served and to employ strategies for sustainability and scale that result in intentional impact.”

Among Central’s programs geared toward first-generation students is its First Gen Advocacy Academy, which recently welcomed its second class of trained faculty and staff equipped with the skills to assist first-generation students.

“As a first-generation college student and Central staff member, I am immensely proud to pave the way for future generations, demonstrating that educational barriers can be overcome,” says new advocate Lisa Baxter-Rincon. “My journey symbolizes the power of perseverance and serves as a testament to the transformative impact of education within my family and community.”

The Center for First-generation Student Success is an initiative of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators and The Suder Foundation.