California State University, Sacramento

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Center for First-Generation Student Initiatives Division of Student Affairs

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First Generation Institute

Many Sacramento State’s first-generation college students as a default of their background have no prior exposure or knowledge of navigating higher education institutions. One of the common questions is what happens to these same individuals after they graduate college and land their first jobs? For many, they find themselves not only learning how to do a job but also figuring out how to advance to the next one. The First-Generation Institute (FGI) is an innovative and student-centered program designed to celebrate and promote the retention of and completion rates advancing first-generation college student success while ensuring first-generation experiences are woven into the culture and climate of the university. The core purpose of FGI is two-fold: 1) foster and increase the sense of belonging and social connectedness for students who identify as first-generation college students and 2) provide opportunities for first-generation college students to integrate their college experiences into the world of work.

First, But Not Alone Stories

A message from FGI:
"To all our students who are the first in their family to graduate, we are proud of you, we are here for you, you are an inspiration. We want you to know you are first but not alone." #Stungers-Up #FGI See the visual message

students sitting around a table

Sacramento State at a Glance

Note: Data Averages Fall 2015 – Fall 2018

  • Average age of undergrad = 23
  • % of Sac State students who are first-gen = 34%
  • % of Sac State students who identify as first-gen and receive the Pell grant = 54%
  • % of first-gen students who complete a bachelor’s degree in 4 years (first-time freshman only N=135) = 19%

Racial Breakdown of First-Gen Students

  • Hispanic: 39%
  • Asian: 25%
  • White: 14%
  • Not Specified: 6%
  • African American: 5%,
  • Pacific Islander: 1%
  • Native American: .75%

Seminar, Institutes & Events

Institute and Event

SSCI: Career Readiness Seminar

FGI Interview

Who is a First-Generation Student?

I am a first-generation college student if I meet one of the following three criteria:

  1. A student neither of whose natural or adoptive parents received a baccalaureate degree;
  2. A student who, prior to the age of 18, regularly resided with and received support from only one parent and whose supporting parent did not receive a baccalaureate degree; or
  3. A student who, prior to the age of 18, did not regularly reside with nor receive support from a natural or an adoptive parent.

This is the First Generation institute logo

Sacramento State receives First-gen Forward designation

The First-gen Forward designation recognizes institutions of higher education who have demonstrated a commitment to improving experiences and advancing outcomes of first-generation college students.

fgi students stingers up group photo

Program curriculum

The body of literature on student retention and persistence (Astin 1977, 1993) guides the curriculum development utilizing a network of regional and community partners including alumni to offer a wide variety of vibrant workshops and expert speakers. The goal during each institute is to empower first-generation students through critical mentoring, skill-building and reflection to enhance their knowledge, increase their efficacy, and give them a path to become first-generation professionals.