The Center for First-Generation Student Success, an initiative of the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, has named UTSA a top university in its programming efforts to create a supportive and empowering campus for first-generation students. Nearly 50% of UTSA’s undergraduate student population will be the first in their families to earn a college degree.
Ensuring that every student is successful and graduates on time is a top priority at UTSA, where the UTSA First-Generation & Transfer Student Center offers programs to make sure first-generation college students are leveraging the many opportunities and resources the university has to offer. These include mentorship programs, student success activities, and community building initiatives.
Among these programs, First to Go & Graduate provides students a first-generation, upperclassmen peer mentor and a first-generation faculty coach. Collectively, they form a familia and engage in various student success, career exploration, and community-building activities. In the four years since the program began, it has served more than 450 first-generation students.
“The center is so pleased to welcome The University of Texas at San Antonio into our inaugural cohort of First Forward institutions, says Sarah E. Whitley, senior director of the Center for First-Generation Student Success. “Through the application process, it was evident that UTSA is not only taking steps to serve first-generation students but is prepared to make a long-term commitment and employ strategies for significant scaling and important advances in the future.”
“This designation by NASPA is so important because it provides UTSA with an opportunity to make a positive impact on students beyond our own campus, drawing on the lessons we have learned,” says Brandon Cruz, senior program coordinator for the UTSA First-Generation & Transfer Student Center. “To work with, develop, and support other rising first-generation focused institutions across the nation will have a profound impact on everyone involved, most importantly the students.”