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First-Generation College Student Initiatives

At Cal State Fullerton, more than 32.4% of our student population identifies as first-generation: the first in their family to go to college. We understand that acceptance into college is only the first step, as we are committed to providing retention and support services to ensure that first-generation students are successful along the way.

Students talking to staff and faculty during National First-Generation College Student Week.

Cal State Fullerton has thousands of first-generation students who can benefit from strong faculty and staff support systems. These same students can also find value by being in community with other first-generation students. Our hope is that this webpage will serve as a resource to connect “first-gen” students with faculty, staff and other students as well as highlight events throughout the academic year. 

What exactly is a first-generation college student?

The answer is simple: A first-generation college student is defined as someone who is the first in their family to attend or graduate from college. You are still considered first-generation if you meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Your parent(s)/guardian(s) went to a trade school.
  • Your parent(s)/guardian(s) went to a community college and took classes.
  • Your parent(s)/guardian(s) went to a community college and have an Associate’s degree.
  • Your sibling(s) graduated from a four-year university.
  • Your parent(s)/guardian(s) received a four-year degree in another country.


National First-Generation College Student Week

On November 8 each year, universities across the nation celebration National First-Generation College Student Week. This date was selected for the annual 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.

Along with 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. (via

Student receiving information at first-gen resource fair

Creative Titan Trailblazers
(CoTA 1st Gen Alumni Panel)

Tuesday, November 7

About: Virtual speaker panel event featuring alumni from the College of the Arts who were first-generation college students. 

Time: 12pm-1:30pm

Where:  Current students may attend in person in LH 210G or attend virtually.

Contact: Email Daisy Saucedo at



crowded resource fair

2023 First-Generation College Celebration Event Broadcast #2

Wednesday, November 8

About: Co-hosted by the Center for First-Generation Student Success and the Council for Opportunity in Education, this virtual event features first-gen graduates in leading roles at some of the world's most recognizable companies. Panelists from Disney, Sony, Major League Baseball, and Comcast will discuss their academic and professional journeys and how they create opportunities for future first-gen leaders within their professional networks.

Time: 3pm

Where:  Guests may attend virtually.

Student smiling at first-gen resource fair

F1rst Gen Mixer

Wednesday, November 8

About: Celebrate First Generation Week with a student-alumni mixer. It's an excellent opportunity for current first-gen students to meet alumni, ask questions, and connect with those who walked the path before them. Dinner will be served.

Time: 5:30pm - 7:30pm

Where: Golleher Alumni House. Please RSVP.

Student smiling

First Generation Student Symposium

Thursday, November 9

About: Come learn more about what it means to be a First Generation Student, connect with other 1st gen students, and enjoy some food!

Time: 1pm-2pm

Where: Laurel Multi-Purpose Room (student housing)

Contact: Email José Cuevas at

student receiving a gift

First-Gen 101: Navigating Higher Education as an Undocumented Student

Thursday, November 9

About: College can be intimidating for a first-generation undocumented student. This event will provide a space to chat about this experience and find the resources available to you! Come join us as we explore what CSUF has to offer!

Time: 2pm-3pm

Where: PLS-180

Contact: Email Areli Castro at

Student standing at resource fair

A Journey Between 2 Worlds

Thursday, November 9

About: We will discuss how first-generation transfer students navigate higher education, cultural expectations, family, etc. especially then there is conflict. The conversation will address how they manage the push and pull of balancing it all. Transfer Student panelist will help lead the discussion and share their stories.

Time: 6pm-7pm

Where:  Current students may attend virtually.

Contact: Email Laura Hooks at & Andrea De Alba at

First-Generation College Student Resources

Career Center 'I am First' program graphic

Career Center Programming

Led by the Career Center at Cal State Fullerton, the "I Am First…" program was developed to equip first-generation college students with the confidence, self-awareness, and career readiness knowledge tp jumpstart into a successful journey towards achieving career and leadership development. Moreover, the "I Am First..." program offers a first-generation college student/professional network that provides support beyond the university experience.

Connect with the Career Center

College of the Art's 'I am FIRST. I am an ARTIST' graphic.

College of the Arts Programming

"I am FIRST. I am an ARTIST" is a program designed to support first-generation college students explore career options, meet artists in the fields of visual arts, music, dance, and theatre. The program connects students to university resources, including the Career Center, to ensure that students have every opportunity to polish their professional skills and prepare to launch a successful career in the arts. It also serves as a resource for first-generation undergraduate students and their families/communities.

Learn more about the 'I am First' program


Abrego Future Scholars 

  Abrego Future Scholar students posing for a picture.

The Abrego Future Scholars Program provides financial and academic support for students during their first year of studies at California State University, Fullerton, awarding up to fifty $1,500 scholarships to first-time freshman and first-time transfer students. Additionally, the program helps facilitate the transition to college for meritorious students who have been disadvantaged due to their economic, environmental, or educational background.

Abrego Future Scholars Contact Information

Phone: (657) 278-3458

Educational Opportunity Program

Students waving and walking as they move in to their dorms.

For 50 years Cal State Fullerton has collaborated with the State of California to provide financial and academic support to students through the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP). Each year, EOP at CSUF admits a new class of up to 500 individuals—first time freshman and transfer students—whose families are challenged by economic barriers and who need admissions and/or counseling services to succeed in college. EOP provides access to higher education for those students who demonstrate potential and who, without EOP support, may be unable to earn a college degree. Additionally, EOP at CSUF offers pre-admission counseling, admission assistance, referrals for tutorial learning, career guidance, financial aid advisement, and other student services.

Educational Opportunity Program Admissions Contact Information

Phone: (657) 278-2784

TRIO Student Support Services

President Fram Virjee hugging student during graduation.

TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) is a federally funded program that is housed within the Student Academic Services Unit of Student Affairs. TRIO SSS serves students who are first generation and/or low-income and/or have a disability to successfully graduate with their bachelor's degree. Furthermore, the program provides academic and other support services to encourage the holistic development of our students from first time enrollment through graduation from Cal State Fullerton.

TRIO SSS Contact Information

Phone: (657) 278-5210
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