First-Generation College Celebration Day

First-Generation College Celebration Day advances an asset-based national narrative on first-generation student experiences and outcomes. Use November 8 to encourage communities to understand better the systemic barriers plaguing higher education and the support necessary for this critical and resilient population to continue thriving.

Join us in advancing an asset-based national narrative on first-generation student experiences and outcomes

In 2017, COE and the Center for First-generation Student Success launched the inaugural First-Generation College Celebration! Given the continued success of this event, COE and the Center now partner to make this celebration an annual event.

On November 8, we encourage colleges, universities, corporations, non-profits, and K-12 schools to celebrate the success of first-generation college students, faculty, staff, and alumni in every possible way. Get creative! In previous years, institutions and organizations have invited speakers and offered programming on first-generation student success, hosted lunch and learn events, kicked off mentoring programs, distributed first-gen swag, featured first-generation students on websites, and more! Consider building relationships with colleagues, involving leadership, and using Celebration Day as a galvanizing force across your institution or organization. If sharing information about your event on social platforms, tag @COEtalk, and @FirstgenCenter and use the #CelebrateFirstGen!

Event Planning Guide


We hope you are planning a celebration for 2023!

COE and the NASPA Center for First-generation Student Success would love for you to share the activities you have planned for National First-Generation College Celebration Day. This national celebration occurs every year on or around November 8 to acknowledge and elevate first-generation college student and alumni identities and contributions. As we continue to establish a national narrative on first-generation student experiences and outcomes, we request your help gathering information by sharing your efforts to engage your campus or local community. Your assistance is greatly appreciated.

Please do not forget to share your celebrations on social media platforms at @COEtalk and @FirstgenCenter and use #CelebrateFirstGen!



Congratulations to the 2023 FGCC Grant Recipients!

Each year, we’re pleased to award grants to select NASPA- and COE-member institutions to aid them in reaching more first-generation college students or graduates; engaging more stakeholders; launching new first-gen-specific events or initiatives; and/or providing additional services around FGCC. Please join COE, the Center for First-Generation Student Success, and our sponsors, Strada Education Foundation and MasteryPrep, in congratulating the 53 outstanding recipients of the 2023 Grant Opportunity!

View Grant Recipients Here
Additional Information

This application will close on Tuesday, August 8, at 11:59 p.m. PT. Immediately upon closure, our reviewers will evaluate submissions and select this year’s recipients. We must wait to review submissions before the deadline above. All applicants will be notified of their status via email by late August. Due to the large volume of submissions, we can only provide individual status updates after this time.

Grant funds are unrestricted. If awarded, however, they must be applied to an initiative related to the First-Generation College Celebration or first-generation student initiatives. Grant recipients must submit a current W-9 form to NASPA, a 500-word blog, and a video recap of the recipient’s Celebration Day activities. NASPA staff will confirm due dates for post-engagement collateral with recipients upon acceptance of grant funds.

If you are unsure of your membership status or cannot locate your institutional membership ID, please email [email protected] (for COE membership details) . Institutions who received funds through the 2022 First-Generation College Celebration Grant Opportunity are ineligible to receive funds in 2023. Those who received funds in 2021 or earlier are eligible to apply for funds through this application.

COE appreciates the generosity of MasteryPrep for sponsoring the 2023 FGCC Grant Opportunity.

Ways to Participate

There are myriad ways to participate in the celebration — even virtually.

At many institutions, November 8 events have grown to week-long, or even month-long celebrations. For the past four years institutions across the nation celebrated first-generation students, faculty, and staff on November 8 and highlighted the important contributions made within those communities. From keynote speakers and brown bag lunches to launching awareness campaigns and new strategic plans, the opportunities for celebrations are endless.

  • Webinars featuring notable first-generation alumni and other speakers,
  •  Virtual panel discussions and forums featuring remarks by first-generation college students and faculty who were first-generation about their college experiences,
  •  Inclusion of first-generation faculty experiences into classroom discussions,
  •  Virtual listening sessions by administration and faculty about first-generation students’ experiences and needs on campus,
  •  Creation of multimedia materials (including video messages) of first-generation students for use in admissions and faculty development sessions,
  • Interviews with trustees, administrators, and faculty who are first-generation.
Resources for TRIO

Media Toolkit

Publicize your #CelebrateFirstGen plans using digital media

To support your institution’s #CelebrateFirstGen social promotion, we created this digital media toolkit. What is included?

  • The revamped First-Generation College Celebration logo: We welcome you to download and apply the logo to your shareable.
  • Social Shareable templates to use across social media: We included three different sizes and welcome you to update them with your school colors, logo, photo, and specific text.

When posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn, be sure to include #CelebrateFirstGen and tag @FirstgenCenter and @COETalk.



Congratulations to the 2022 Grant Opportunity Recipients

In support of the 2022 First-Generation College Celebration, the Council and the Center for First-Generation Student Success are pleased to award Grant Opportunity funds to 50 institutions and organizations! These funds extend an institution’s or an organization’s ability to reach more first-generation students, engage more members of their community, launch new programs or events, or provide additional services surrounding the First-Generation College Celebration. Eligible institutions and organizations received up to $500.00 in unrestricted funds. Please join us in congratulating these outstanding recipients!

view the 2022 Grant Recipients Here

Upcoming Events

Enhance the services you provide low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities to increase their changes of success.