First-Generation & Limited-Income
What is a first-generation college-bound student? First-generation students are the first generation of their families to go to college. There are many resources to support first-generation students, and students should self-identify with their counselor to learn about the college-going assistance available.
What is a limited-income college-bound student? The most common way colleges and universities define low-income students is by Pell grant eligibility. Pell grants fund students who have exceptional financial need and have not earned a bachelor’s degree or higher. Pell grant eligibility is determined by submitting the FAFSA.
Application-Related Fee Waivers: The UCs, CSUs, Common Application, College Board, ACT, and others provide fee waivers for students who qualify. See helpful blog here and information below on how to access fee waivers:
What is an underrepresented college-bound student? In higher education, "underrepresented" refers to racial and ethnic populations that are disproportionately lower in number relative to their number in the general population.
EOP - Equal Opportunity Programs (on college campuses): EOP is designed to improve access and retention of historically limited-income and educationally disadvantaged students. The program can provide admission and academic assistance to EOP-eligible undergraduate students. In many cases, the program offers financial assistance to eligible students. Colleges tailor their programs to accommodate the needs of their student population. Search "EOP" on each college campus for details about their programs.
ScholarMatch: The ScholarMatcher is a free college search tool analyzing more than 1,400 schools to help low-income and first-generation students find the right colleges for them.
Federal TRIO Programs: The Federal TRIO Programs (TRIO) are Federal outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. TRIO includes eight programs targeted to serve and assist limited-income individuals, first-generation college students, and individuals with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to post-baccalaureate programs.
The Puente Project: The PUENTE Project is a national award-winning program that for more than 30 years has improved the college-going rate of tens of thousands of California's educationally underrepresented students. Its mission is to increase the number of educationally disadvantaged students who enroll in four-year colleges and universities, earn college degrees, and return to the community as mentors and leaders to future generations. The program is interdisciplinary in approach, with writing, counseling, and mentoring components.
Questbridge: QuestBridge is a powerful platform bridging the nation's brightest, under-served youth and leading institutions of higher education and further opportunities. QuestBridge provides a single, internet-based meeting point that links exceptional students with colleges, scholarship providers, enrichment programs, employers, and organizations seeking students who have excelled despite obstacles. By facilitating these exchanges, QuestBridge aims to increase the percentage of talented limited-income students attending the nation's best universities and the ranks of national leadership itself.
I'm First: I'm First! is an online community for first-generation college students—and their supporters. Hear inspiring stories and share your own, discover colleges that care about first-gen students, find answers to your questions about college, and receive guidance on the road to and through college.