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First Generation Initiatives

People sitting around a table in conversation
Staff and faculty discuss building an inclusive campus culture, as part of the Supporting First-Generation Students training on November 7, 2022.

Among the students CASA serves are first-generation college students: those who will be the first in their families to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Each November, Villanova honors first-gen achievements and raises the first-gen profile on campus as part of the National First-Generation College Celebration. And throughout the academic year, faculty, staff, and students work together to provide resources and community to students who may face unique challenges stemming from first-gen identity. At the same time, we highlight the strengths of this community: independence, persistence, creativity, and resourcefulness, among others.

From its founding to educate those who were excluded from traditional universities to the veterans returning to college after WWII,  to the 21st-century student looking to start her/his own family’s legacy, Villanova has been a place for first-generation students to thrive.

If you would like to contribute to first-gen initiatives on campus, contact Rachel Epstein by email or by phone (610-519-4103).


What does it mean to be first-gen?

A first-gen student is someone who will be part of the first generation in their family to earn a bachelor’s degree. Usually, neither parent or guardian has earned a college degree. Some first-gen students have a parent who earned a degree in another country. Some have a sibling who has earned a degree. All benefit from support and community during their time in college.