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

2024 Grant Opportunity

Apply for up to $1,000 to scale your #CelebrateFirstGen efforts.

Every year, we have the privilege of empowering COE- and NASPA-member institutions to make a real impact on the lives of first-generation college students. These grants are not just about funding – they’re about creating opportunities, igniting innovation, and fostering lasting change. Now, the 2024 First-Generation College Celebration grant opportunity is here, and we’re calling on passionate individuals like you to join us in this vital mission. Apply for funds to expand your reach, launch groundbreaking initiatives, and provide crucial support to those who need it most. Apply now and shape the future of first-generation college success. Deadline for applications and volunteer reviewer sign-ups is 11:59 p.m. PT on July 11.

Prepare for success! Before diving into your application, take the time to familiarize yourself with this year’s application scoring rubric. It’s your roadmap to crafting a winning submission that stands out. Plus, don’t miss out on valuable insights and tips from our virtual information sessions. Join us to learn how to strengthen your application and maximize your chances of receiving funding. Get ready to make your mark and transform the lives of first-generation college students.


Celebration Inspiration

Join Western Connecticut State University in celebrating First-Generation College Celebration Day!

As pioneers in recognizing the achievements of first-generation students, we invite you to embrace this important event on your campus. Every November, Western Connecticut State University (WCSU) unites with colleges nationwide to showcase the diverse experiences and accomplishments of first-generation students. At WCSU, these celebrations are vibrant and inclusive. Students, faculty, and administration come together to share personal stories and reflect on the profound impact of being first-generation college students. Through a variety of engaging activities, you too can highlight the resilience and determination of these trailblazers on campus. COE encourages you to create a similar web presence to promote First-Generation College Celebration Day activities at your institution each year.

Get inspired


We hope you are planning a celebration for 2024!

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!


COE appreciates the generosity of MasteryPrep and Strada Education Foundation 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 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

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