June 13, 2017
After supporting college scholarships at multiple institutions for many years, Eric and Deb Suder became troubled by the low completion rates of first-generation college students. This concern grew into the establishment of The Suder Foundation (TSF) and, in 2009, the First Scholars program. The Suder's believed that by identifying the specific challenges faced by first-generation college students, solutions could be identified and, in turn, adressed through appropriate resources and support. Through purposeful partnerships, a thoughtfully developed curriculum, and generous scholarship funding by The Suder's, First Scholars quickly began expansion and is currently active at six public, four-year institutions.
In considering the future of First Scholars and how to provide the greatest benefit to all first-generation college students, The Suder's were drawn to NASPA's position as the leading voice of the student affairs profession and commitment to advancing both research and practice surrounding marginalized populations. Initially planned as a partnership to provide formal curriculum to institutions desiring support in creating first-generation student programs, the vast needs of both first-gen students and well-intentioned institutions warranted a comprehensive approach.
Today, NASPA and The Suder Foundation announce the formal establishment of the Center for First-generation Student Success. Led by NASPA with $3M in seed funding from The Suder Foundation, the Center will be devoted to increasing the research, scholarship, and effective practice around first-generation student success and to expand both increased awareness in and presence of evidence-based programs. The Center's initial priorities, outlined here, provide early guidance until a national landscape analysis can be completed in coming months. This website will continue to serve as a home for announcements and updates until a comprehensive site is launched in the near future. The Center is located at NASPA in Washington, DC and Sarah E. Whitley recently joined NASPA as the Center's senior director.
Read today's press release for more information about NASPA's partnership with TSF and the creation of the Center for First-generation Student Success.
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