The University of Central Florida Receives First-gen Forward Designation

National Honor for Commitment to First-generation Student Success

Posted Monday, March 9, 2020 @ 10:53 AM

ORLANDO, FL (March 9th, 2020) – The Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and The Suder Foundation, recently announced their 2020-21 cohort of First-gen Forward Institutions. The First-gen Forward designation recognizes institutions of higher education who have demonstrated a commitment to improving experiences and advancing outcomes of first-generation college students. Selected institutions receive professional development, community-building experiences, and a first look at the Center’s research and resources.

Here at UCF, the First-Generation Knights Program is dedicated to serving first-generation college students here at UCF by providing guidance, counseling, resources, mentorship, and more. Housed within the Office of Multicultural Academic & Support Services office (MASS), the First-Generation Knights Program is a “one-stop-shop” for first-generation students looking for guidance, support, and community throughout their journey at UCF. In addition to the MASS office, first-generation students at UCF have multiple registered student organizations to choose from, federal Trio programs, and campus resources found within additional SDES Departments. UCF has been utilizing evidence-based techniques to retain first-generation students and support them in their higher education endeavors.

“The Center is so pleased to welcome The University of Central Florida into the 2020-21 cohort of First-gen Forward institutions. Through the application process, it was evident that UCF 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,” said Dr. Sarah E. Whitley, senior director of the Center for First-generation Student Success.

“Putting the first-generation student experience at the center of our institutional efforts, demonstrates our commitment to serving students who are first in their families to attend college,” said Tammie Nadeau, assistant director leading the First-Generation Knights Program at UCF.

As a First-gen Forward Institution, select faculty and staff will be afforded multiple opportunities to engage with peer and aspirational institutions who are also creating environments that improve the experiences and outcomes of first-generation students. Selected institutions will send representatives to the First-gen Forward Workshop to be held in Baltimore in June and will participate in monthly phone calls, virtual professional development, goal setting, blog development, annual reporting, and more. After two successful years in the program, institutions are eligible to apply for the Advisory leadership designation.

“The 2020-21 First-gen Forward cohort demonstrates a national movement of two- and four-year institutions dedicated to advancing the success of first-generation students, redefining student success as a movement. We commend UCF for their already strong contribution and look forward to engaging more at the First-gen Forward Workshop and throughout their participation,” offered Dr. Kevin Kruger, president, and CEO of NASPA.

In addition to their recognition as a First-gen Forward Institution, UCF has also been invited to take part in the inaugural cohort of the First Scholars® Network. As one of the select institutions invited to participate in the First Scholars® Network, UCF will be working to advance the persistence of first-generation students and the completion of their degrees. A hands-on opportunity, UCF will be contributing to the First Scholars Framework transformation, creating goals, designing models, and measuring how to increase first-generation student success for other higher-learning institutions to follow.

To learn more about first-generation efforts at UCF, visit To learn more about the Center for First-generation Student Success, visit

NASPA—Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education is the leading association for the advancement, health, and sustainability of the student affairs profession. Its work provides high-quality professional development, advocacy, and research for 15,000 members in all 50 states, 25 countries, and 8 U.S. territories. Visit for more information.

The Center for First-generation Student Success is the premier source of evidence-based practices, professional development, and knowledge creation for the higher education community to advance the success of first-generation students. Through four strategic priority areas, the Center drives higher education innovation and advocacy for first-generation student success.

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