Ohio University

Ohio University receives national honor for commitment to first-gen student success

Published: June 30, 2020 Author: Staff reports

Ohio University has been designated a First-gen Forward Advisory Institution by the Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and The Suder Foundation. 

This designation for institutions acknowledges their commitment to fostering first-generation college student achievement. As a First-gen Forward Advisory Institution, OHIO joins an elite community of higher education professionals who are focused on continuing the success of and improving experiences for first-generation college students across the nation. 

“I am honored that Ohio University has been recognized as a First-gen Forward Advisory Institution,” said President M. Duane Nellis. “First-generation students can face many unique hurdles during their college experience, and OHIO is committed to providing an accessible and inclusive environment to help them achieve their academic goals.”

The selection is the next stage of recognition by the center after successful cycles in the First-gen Forward program. OHIO previously received the First Forward Institution designation in the inaugural cohort of 80 institutions.  

“Now, in its second year, First-gen Forward Institutions continue to lead the nation by their commitment to first-generation student success. With the growth of the 2020-21 cohort, we elevated a select number of First-gen Forward Institutions to the Advisory Institution designation. We commend Ohio University for their stalwart first-generation student efforts and look forward to working more closely through the Advisory designation,” said Dr. Sarah E. Whitley, senior director of the Center for First-generation Student Success. 

Only 10 other institutions gained the First-gen Forward Advisory distinction this year, with OHIO being the only university in the state of Ohio to be selected. Other institutions in the 2020-21 cohort include Baylor University, Florida State University, Utah Valley University and Santa Clara University. 

“Receiving this next level of distinguished recognition by the center reflects the University’s commitment to support for our first-generation students,” said Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Sayrs.

First-Gen Forward Advisory

First-generation college students represent one-third of OHIO’s student population. OHIO supports these students through programs such as the OHIO First Scholars and the TRIO/Student Support Services Program, better known as the College Achievement Program (CAP). Both are housed in the University College

“We are deeply committed to the important work of supporting first-generation students at OHIO and beyond,” said University College Interim Dean Carey Busch. “Research indicates that people who earn college degrees demonstrate higher job and life satisfaction levels, are better off financially, and that their children are more likely to attend college themselves.”

Through the OHIO First Scholars and CAP programs, first-generation college students can access a network of support and opportunities including supplemental academic advising, mentoring, free tutoring, a dedicated student organization, a specialized seminar course and more. 

“We value and celebrate our first-generation students at OHIO and this designation helps reinforce the importance of continuing to find innovative ways to help our first-generation students thrive and succeed as they earn their degrees,” said Angela Lash, director of the OHIO First Scholars Program. 

The Center for First-generation Student Success was launched by NASPA and The Suder Foundation in 2017 with a mission of being the premier source of information for higher education to advance and support first-generation college students. 

For more information about first-generation support efforts at OHIO, please visit www.ohio.edu/uc/firstgen or www.ohio.edu/uc/aac/trio