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National First Gen Day

What is National First Gen Day?

As first-generation college students, it can be hard to feel a sense of belonging or that people on campus will understand what it means to be first-gen. This is why we at Vanderbilt celebrate National First Gen Day. Info from the Center for First Generation College Success:

In 2017, the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) and the Center for First-generation Student Success launched the inaugural First-Generation College Celebration! Given the continued success of this event, COE and the Center now partner to make this celebration an annual event.

November 8 was selected as the date for the annual National First-Generation College Celebration to honor the anniversary of the signing of the Higher Education Act of 1965. The Higher Education Act (“HEA”) emerged out of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty. Much like other hallmark legislation of that era, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, HEA was intended to help level a playing field that for too long had been weighed against Americans from minority and low-income backgrounds. In addition to creating federal grants and loan programs to help students finance their educations, the legislation made key investments in institutions of higher education. Additionally, HEA ushered in programs, particularly the Federal TRIO programs, necessary for postsecondary access, retention, and completion for low-income, potential first-generation college graduates.

Vanderbilt has celebrated National First Gen day since 2021. Find our past archives below and visit this page in October to learn more about the scheduled events for National First Gen Day 2023!


First Gen Appreciation Week