Nov. 8: National First-Generation College Celebration

As a university that measures ourself by whom we include and how they succeed, Arizona State University takes great pride in being home to many students who are the first in their family to go to college. Earning a university degree is one of the surest paths toward a bright future, and our community is #ASUFirstGenProud.

More than 28,700

Total number of first-generation undergraduate students enrolled at ASU in fall 2023.

One in three

ASU undergraduate students are the first in their families to attend college.

More than 4,000

Total number of first-year ASU students who are first-generation college students.

A university for first-generation college students, led by first-generation college students

They lived the experience of being the first in their family to go to college — now they are designing the future of ASU.

michael crow

Michael Crow
President, and first-generation college student at Iowa State University.

First-gen flashback 

“My family had no experience with college and did not see the value in earning a degree. As the first person in my family to enroll, there was a lot I did not understand about how college worked, but I asked a lot of questions, worked hard and would not take ‘no’ for an answer. As a result, college gave me both academic knowledge and life skills that have lasted a lifetime.”

Tip for first-gen students

“You do not have to navigate college alone. Do not be afraid to ask for help. There are many faculty, staff and fellow students who are eager to share their knowledge and support to help you succeed. Your school is a community, so engage, thrive, and then share what you learn with others.”

Nancy Gonzales

Nancy Gonzales
Executive Vice President and University Provost, and first-generation college student at Arizona State University.

First-gen flashback

"I had the full support of my family at every stage of my education, but they could not offer the practical advice and guidance that I can give to my own children and students now. The pivotal moment for me was when I reached out to a very inspiring professor in my second year and asked to join his research team. Since that day, I have been connected to amazing research teams, including my own lab group, pursuing research to benefit underserved communities.”

Tip for first-gen students

“One conversation after class opened a whole new career path for me. Be curious. Ask lots of questions. Take full advantage of the access you have to your professors and the many knowledgeable experts that you will encounter throughout your student experience. You never know when a new opportunity may present itself and shape the rest of your life.”



Maria Anguiano

Executive Vice President of the Learning Enterprise, and first-generation college student at Claremont McKenna College.

First-gen flashback

 “As the first in my family to attend college, I experienced culture shock. Other students played sports and listened to music that I’d never heard of. In moving away for college, I was also torn away from my family and community of support, which was isolating. It is my goal to ensure all our learners feel like they belong at ASU from day one!” 

Tip for first-gen students

“Your experience as a first-generation college student is a strength. Use it to lead and drive change around you.”

First forward instituition

A First-Gen Forward™ Institution

First-Gen Forward™ is a recognition program from the NASPA Center for First-Generation Student Success that acknowledges higher education institutions committed to first-generation student success.

Because of our support for first-generation students and our commitment to being a welcoming university home to all first-gen learners, ASU was one of the inaugural universities recognized with this distinction.

ASU resources for first-generation college student

Join the first-generation celebration

ASU community celebrates first generation students

Join us as we celebrate the success of first-generation college students at ASU using #ASUFirstGenProud. Share your story or word of encouragement on X or Instagram.