TLU: A First-Gen Forward University
While a first-generation college student is defined as an individual whose parents or legal guardian have not completed a bachelor's degree, first-generation students are so much more. They are trailblazers. Risk takers. Pioneers. They also make up more than half of TLU's student body, and many faculty and staff (including President Cottrell) are also first generation.
In early 2020, TLU was selected as an official First-Gen Forward University, joining less than 160 other institutions across the nation. While the National Center for Education Statistics indicates that 30 percent of all entering college freshmen are first generation, more than half of all TLU students identify as first generation.
As part of the Center For First-Generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA and The Suder Foundation, TLU students have access to a community of professionals prepared to share resources, help with navigating through the application and financial aid process, and generate knowledge for the advancement of first-generation students.
Since this is such a fast-growing and critically important population at TLU, seeking best practices to address students' specific needs is a key focus for university administration.
The National Center for Education Statistics indicates that 30 percent of all entering college freshmen are first generation. In fall of 2014, 45 percent of TLU’s first-year students were first generation, but by 2018, that number increased to 65 percent, a 20 percent increase in just four years.
"I Am First" Campaign
TLU’s “I Am First” campaign is undergoing some exciting changes and updates! Stay tuned for more details from the Office of First-Year Experience & Student Transitions.
Parents and first-generation faculty and staff are also included in the program. The Office of First-Year Experience & Student Transitions started hosting a pinning ceremony in the chapel to honor students, faculty, and staff. This is a special event that unites different audiences across campus, inspiring a sense of empathy and community.
The Office of First-Year Experience & Student Transitions is also focused on serving the needs of this growing group when it comes to university holidays.
Many of these students often have to choose between going home for Thanksgiving or going home for Christmas. Since they almost always choose Christmas, Office of First-Year Experience & Student Transitions started hosting a special Thanksgiving dinner in 2014.They quickly realized how having a Thanksgiving event on campus would give them a place to celebrate with their TLU family, including many first-generation faculty and staff who also attend.