First-Generation College Celebration Day

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SIU First Generation College Student Celebration Group Photo

Why Celebrate on November 8?

The Higher Education Act of 1965 (“HEA”) emerged out of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty. Much like other hallmark legislation of that era, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, HEA was intended to help level a playing field that for too long had been weighed against Americans from minority and low-income backgrounds.

In addition to creating federal grants and loan programs to help students finance their educations, the legislation made key investments in institutions of higher education. Additionally, HEA ushered in a set of programs (such as Upward Bound, Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program and Student Support Services) designed to provide academic tutoring, personal counseling, mentoring, financial guidance and other supports necessary for postsecondary access, retention, and completion for low-income, potential first-generation college graduates.

On Wednesday, November 8, 2017, in honor of the 52nd anniversary of the signing of the 1965 Higher Education Act (HEA), Council of Opportunity in Education and the Center for First-Generation Student Success launched the First-Generation College Celebration. We hope that you will join us and institutions across the nation celebrate the identity and successes of first-generation students.

Check out some of our first-generation students below!