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SIU First-Gen Forward Center for First-Generation Student Success InstitutionStrive for College College Partner since 2020 SIU

SIU Carbondale has been nationally recognized for efforts to support first-generation students. We’ve got your back from day one. That means we’ll connect you to the programs, services and people all across campus who can help you reach your educational goals.

 We also offer a variety of resources especially for first-generation students, including:

Peer Mentor Program

We recognize that many students struggle with the unique experience of transitioning to college. It can be even more difficult for first-generation students, who are often left to navigate without advice from their families who have no first-hand experience. That’s where our Peer Mentor Program fits in.

SIU student mentors are Saluki upperclassmen and graduate assistants, who assist and connect first-generation students to resources on- and off-campus, assist with students’ academic preparation, and their social and personal transition to SIU Carbondale. A peer mentor serves as a coach, guide, and a positive role model.

Living Learning Community

Shared experiences create unique bonds, and first-generation students can enjoy an enhanced experience by becoming part of our first-generation Living Learning Community (LLC). Students build a community with other first-generation students, explore what it means to be a first-generation college student, connect with faculty and staff, and learn about valuable academic and campus resources to help them succeed.

To apply to the First & Proud LLC, visit the housing website.

Life Skills & Academic Workshops

We sponsor a variety of informational workshops throughout the fall and spring semesters for the benefit of first-generation students. A wide range of topics will be highlighted, including:

  • Financial literacy
  • Career exploration
  • Health and wellness
  • Study strategies

Textbooks/Need Based Financial Assistance Opportunities

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 27 percent of first-generation college students come from households with an annual income of $20,000 or less. We realize that finances can interfere with completing educational goals, so first-generation students will have the opportunity to receive need based financial assistance.

The First Saluki Center has received a limited amount of funds to provide need based financial assistance to SIU Carbondale undergraduate self-identified first-generation students. Funds are limited and will be disseminated upon first come-first served basis.

Students that have a Bursar balance of $1500 or less can register for the semester and will not receive tuition assistance. Assistance will be awarded at the end of each academic semester. First Saluki Center does not provide need based assistance for the summer semesters. 


  • Students must participate in the FSC peer mentoring program. After 1 semester of active participation, students are eligible for financial assistance.
  • Must be eligible to enroll as a full-time undergraduate student.
  • Must have an SIUC cumulative 2.0 grade point average.
  • Must be in good standing with the University and no sanctions from student rights & responsibilities.
  • Must be attending classes on the SIU Carbondale campus.
  • Must be working towards first undergraduate degree.
  • Must have completed a current FAFSA.
  • Must be self-identified as a first-generation student.
  • Must have under 120 undergraduate credit hours.

Need Based Assistance Application

This application closes end of first week after semester classes begin (Fall and Spring semesters).

First Generation Connection

Your success is important to all of us at SIU, and the First-Generation Connection illustrates that. It is a campus-wide collaboration that introduces and connects first-generation students with peers, faculty, and staff who are here to help you succeed.