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In August of 2022, The University of Illinois announced its designation as a First-gen Forward Institution by the Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and the Suder Foundation. In April of 2023, Illinois became the first institution in the state to achieve the center’s First Scholars institutional status.

The Office of Minority Student Affairs works to create and sustain strong support networks for students by partnering with academic deans and advisors in the colleges and departments on campus to offer valuable academic support services, advising, and mentoring for students. These efforts are extremely beneficial to students and families who are new to attending college.

Fostering, Opportunity, Community, and Unwavering Support (FOCUS) Initiative

FOCUS aids in eliminating the gap in post-graduation outcomes and starting salaries between underrepresented, first-generation students and their peers to positively impact their career trajectory, earnings potential, and economic security for years to come. Through a partnership between the Career Center and OMSA, students who are selected as participants for the program receive a $2,500 scholarship to mitigate the financial burden of participation over two semesters.

Learn more about the first-generation forward initiative.