The Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and The Suder Foundation, recently announced the 2022-23 First-gen Forward cohort.

tech tower and blue sky

The First-gen Forward designation recognizes institutions of higher education that 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.

Since launching in April 2021, First-Generation Student Programs has created programming that not only supports Georgia Tech's first-generation students, but also raises awareness and celebrates the first-generation identity. 

We are honored to be recognized for our commitment to advancing first-generation student success at Georgia Tech with the First-Gen Forward designation," said Charmaine Troy, First-Generation, Limited Income (FLI) program and operations manager. "The First-Generation Student Programs has grown over 11 months to include signature programming such as a first-generation peer mentoring program, a first-generation recognition ceremony for graduating seniors, First-Generation College Celebration Week, and the Growing Up in Science series.

The First-Generation College Institute — a statewide summer initiative designed to identify, engage, and prepare first-generation and limited income students in grades 8 through 12 for the transition from high school to college and aptitude in STEM — along with the GTF1RST Ignite Summer Session Track, will launch in Summer 2022.

“The Center is pleased to welcome Georgia Tech into the 2022-23 First-gen Forward cohort. Through the application process, it was evident that Georgia Tech is not only taking steps to serve first-generation students but is prepared to make a long-term commitment and employ strategies that foster an environment of success for this important population,” said Sarah E. Whitley, assistant vice president of the Center for First-generation Student Success.  

Earning the First-Gen Forward designation from NASPA has been a goal of ours since Fall 2019  — when the Institute refocused its efforts to enroll and support first-generation students," said Brent Griffin, director of Retention and Graduation Initiatives and senior assistant registrar. "We are proud that our programming met the national benchmarks for recognition as a First-Gen Forward institution, and we are excited about partnering with our sister First-Gen Forward colleges and universities as we build out our programs in 2022-23.

As a First-gen Forward institution, Tech’s faculty and staff will be afforded multiple opportunities to engage with peer institutions that 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 slated for early June and will participate in monthly 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.

“First-gen Forward is an exciting opportunity for Georgia Tech to join a dedicated community of professionals prepared to share evidence-based practices and resources, troubleshoot challenges, generate knowledge, and continue to advance the success of first-generation students across the country,” said Kevin Kruger, president and CEO of NASPA. “We are excited to see a groundswell of activity from the First-gen Forward cohort and know Georgia Tech will be a significant contributor.” 

To learn more about first-generation efforts at Georgia Tech, visit First-Generation Student Programs is a part of the Office of Undergraduate Education (OUE). Follow OUE on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook to learn more about OUE's programs and services.


The Center 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. Based in Washington, D.C., the Center aims to acknowledge the intersectional experiences of first-generation college students. It offers an outlet for sharing cutting-edge research and current media conversations, opportunities for engagement through online learning, conferences, and events, and access to a bevy of programs and services intended to improve first-generation initiatives across higher education. 


NASPA is a member-centered association supporting a diverse and passionate network of 15,000 professionals and 1,200 institutions across the globe. It is the professional home for the field of student affairs and is dedicated to cultivating student success in collaboration with the missions of its institutional members — a network of colleges and universities representing every sector of higher education.

First-Generation Student Programs is a part of the Office of Undergraduate Education. Follow @gtoue on social media.