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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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UW program for first-generation students long overdue

UW+program+for+first-generation+students+long+overdue
Abigail Leavins

The creation of the First Generation Badgers program by UW is important in supporting students but overdue in making resources accessible

The University of Wisconsin Office of Student Affairs recently created a program titled First Generation Badgers to support students who are the first in their family to attend university.

This program certainly has the potential to be helpful to incoming first-generation students, but it is long overdue and needs much more development to truly support first-generation Badgers. 

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Before the formation of this program, which was announced last week, resources for first-generation students were housed in six different areas on campus according to a press release by the university — the Division of Enrollment Management, the Division of Diversity, Equity and Educational Achievement, the Center for Academic Excellence in the College of Letters & Science and the Office for Student Affairs.

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For students who are the first in their family to attend college and don’t have many people to look towards for guidance on how to find resources at a university, housing these resources across six different offices makes it incredibly difficult for students to find.

Thus, the combination of these resources under one office is incredibly beneficial for first-generation college students who are just learning how to exist on a college campus. 

It is important that first-generation students get as much support as they need. The American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers identified that first-generation students are more likely to work longer hours, struggle filling out financial aid forms and struggle academically at first with the rigor of college work. 

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For these reasons, having programs in place to assist first-generation students are of the utmost importance, and it is even more crucial to have those resources in the same location for ease of access. 

The First Generation Badger program currently only has four events planned — among them a dialogue session with students, a celebration day for National First-Generation College students, Winter Welcome programming and a First-Gen Graduate Celebration.

In the future, the program hopes to develop a mentorship program for students and potentially expand the program to support parents as well. 

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Though these are good events and goals for the time-being to connect first-generation students to each other and their community, UW needs to speed up and really implement this program to support first-generation students to their full capacity.

UW was already long overdue in making all of these resources available and accessible, now they need to follow up on their promise and ensure that they are supporting first-generation students as much as possible. 

Emily Otten ([email protected]) is a senior majoring in journalism.

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