First Scholars® Announces Expansion of Affiliate University Network

Thursday, December 6, 2012

First Scholars

DECEMBER 3, 2012 (Plano, TX)—First Scholars, a program of The Suder Foundation that focuses on improving the graduation rates and success of first generation college students, announced today the program will expand its network by adding two universities in 2013. The First Scholars program currently operates at a network of four-year public universities across the country. The program provides holistic support by addressing first generation students’ particular academic and financial needs, social integration and personal development.

“We’re pleased to expand our affiliate group to include two additional universities. They will join a prestigious group of universities making a real impact on first generation college students’ lives,” explained Eric Suder, founder of The Suder Foundation. “This is an exciting time as First Scholars grows to make a difference in the lives of more students.”

The application and review process lasts approximately five months. Applications are available on Monday, January 14, 2013 with a deadline for submission of Monday, February 11, 2013. Foundation staff and board members will review the applications and make site visits to selected candidate universities throughout the month of April. The two selected universities will be notified in early May.

Ideal candidates include public four-year institutions with an undergraduate enrollment between 15,000-30,000, a high first generation student population, primarily residential campus and commitment from university leadership to support first generation students. Selected universities will receive start-up funding to support scholarships and program operations over a multi-year period, with the universities assuming increasing responsibility for program sustainability.

The mission of the First Scholars program is to increase the graduation rate and personal success of first-generation college students at selected four-year public universities. First Scholars attributes success to the program’s holistic and customized approach to helping first generation college students develop academically, personally and socially and prepare them for successful lives after graduation. The First Scholars program works with a cohort of incoming first-time, full-time freshmen, who perform in the mid-range of the university’s admission standards, demonstrate financial need and intend to live on campus.

The program currently has 173 students and operates at the following universities: The University of Kentucky, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, The University of Alabama, The University of Memphis and Washington State University.