We are serving virtually -- Staff are available to answer questions during normal business hours by email.
What we do:
Through our programs and services we seek to support first-generation students to successfully transition into college life and provide opportunities for the academic and personal success of all our first-gen students on campus.
Who are First Gen Students?
First Generation college students are the students who identify as first in their family to graduate from college. Neither parent or guardian has completed a college degree.
A student whose parent(s) or guardian(s) have not earned a bachelor’s degree.
A student whose parent(s) or guardian(s) have attended but not completed any college.
A student who, prior to the age of 18, regularly resided with and received support from only one parent and whose supporting parent did not complete a bachelor’s degree.
A student who, prior to the age of 18, did not regularly reside with or receive support from a natural or adoptive parent.
Resources we offer:
Welcoming space for student use
Engagement and outreach opportunities
Academic and professional development
Each quarter our office hosts a series of workshops that are designed to encourage academic and personal progress; foster the development of problem-solving skills and teach self-advocacy and personal responsibility.
These workshops are organized in collaboration with various units on campus like the Office of Global Affairs, University Academic Advising, Career Development & Education, Office of Student Financial Aid, Teaching and Learning Center, and the Counseling and Psychological Services.
This workshop series will focus on the following areas:
Our signature events aim to provide opportunities for students to connect with various units on campus that provide services to first-gen students. The events foster the following:
Campus engagement opportunities
Community building and validation
Our Signature Events celebrated annually:
National First-Generation Celebration
The National First Gen Celebration is on Nov. 8th. This event is meant to recognize the experience of first generation students and their success in pursuing higher education. Not only is this day being acknowledged at UWT, but it is a nationally recognized event that will also be celebrated in many other educational institutions. During this event, we have speakers, lunch, free swags, commitment boards, a photo booth and the reveal of the “We Are First Gen” of the year.
First-Gen Commencement: End of Year Celebration
Every Spring the office of First Generation Student Initiatives hosts an End of the Year Celebration where all First-gen graduating seniors are recognized for being the first in their families to graduate from college. As part of this recognition, the graduates receive a graduation stole representing First Gen Fellows. Traditionally a family member, a mentor, or a friend who has supported the graduating senior during their academic journey places the stole on the student during the celebration. Students are able to proudly wear their stole during the UW Tacoma Commencement ceremonies. This stole has the official emblem of the University of Washington and the First Gen Fellows emblem.
Breakfast for Finals
First Generation Student Initiatives sponsors a free breakfast for all students on the first day of Finals Week! This event provides an opportunity for students to connect with each other, take a study break, and prepare for their finals while sharing some food and study tips. It also serves as a way for faculty and staff to celebrate student’s achievements and show their support.
This is a fun social event that provides an opportunity for students to connect with each other and catch up with familiar faces while firing up some delicious marshmallows. Don’t worry about the evening being too cold because the fire will warm your hands and the friendly faces will warm your heart.
Takes place at the start of the fall quarter and is an opportunity for students to connect with various units on campus that provide services to first gen students. This event is in collaboration with the Office of Student Financial Aid and the Office of Student Advocacy and Support.
First Generation Fellows Cohort
First Generation Fellows is a program that provides individualized support to students who identify as first in their family to graduate from college. The program is designed for first generation sophomore and transfer students.
The cohort of students that are selected into the program benefit from various support programs, services, and extensive campus referral networks that help enrich their academic life. The students also participate in monthly Lunch and Learns with faculty and staff that focus on the themes of navigation, empowerment, and leadership. After completing their requirements cohort participants qualify for a $300 book scholarship.
Who can apply?
The First Gen Fellows cohort program is open to first-generation students who are classified as sophomore, and transfer students. Students can apply for the Autumn, Winter, and Spring cohorts.
The key goal for this program is to promote economic justice by increasing access to financial wellness for first generation college students as well as students from minoritized backgrounds.
The Financial Wellness cohort program will teach students basic financial wellness skills such as budgeting, and also provide on-going budget consultation support to the participants. At the completion of the program, students will be able to apply their knowledge of financial wellness strategies to everyday life situations. The student participants will also earn up to a $150 book scholarship.
The Financial Wellness Cohort is a collaboration with the Center for Equity and Inclusion, Office of Student Financial Aid, Office of Student Advocacy and Support, and Sound Outreach.
Who can apply?
The Financial Wellness cohort program is open to UW Tacoma first generation college students as well as students from minoritized backgrounds who are interested in learning about financial wellness resources.
The students can apply for the Winter, and Spring cohort.
The Peer Success Mentors are available to guide their peers toward academic success through one-on-one appointments to discuss study habits, set academic goals, and develop effective learning strategies. These student leaders have participated in the NASPA's Certified Peer Educator (CPE) Training Program.
Peer Success Mentors Are Trained To:
offer one-on-one or group coaching to help first gen students and their peers discuss study habits, set academic goals and develop effective learning strategies
serve as motivational partners
provide information about other resources on campus