Nearly 50% of the FIU student population are first-generation college students. As the first in their families to attend a university, these students face an exclusive set of challenges that can range from economic difficulties to feelings of being overwhelmed with the college experience to even continued family responsibilities. These unique challenges can affect their advancement toward completing a degree.
FIU took a part in National First Gen Day on November 8th 2018, which was celebrated on the 53rd anniversary of the Higher Education Act of 1965. First Gen Day was created in an effort to celebrate the incredible accomplishments of first-generation students as well as provide information on the specific services offered to these students. The event began with a resource fair geared toward current and potential first-generation FIU students and ended with a panel consisting of current first-gen students and accomplished first-gen alumni.
One of the featured alumni panelists was SCJ grad Arlene Tur, who graduated in 2000 with a dual Marketing and Public Relations/Communications degree. Tur is now an actress, television presenter, and model best known for her roles as Bebe Arcel in the television drama series Crash, Armenia in the film Eat Pray Love, and as Vera Juares in Torchwood: Miracle Day. She, alongside other panelists, gave transparent advice and candid insight on how FIU paved the way for their future accomplishments, and allowed them to “break the cycle” in being the first in their families to receive a higher education degree.
“Being a first-generation graduate, you are a stronger person because you feel like you accomplished something on your own, “said Arlene Tur, guest-speaker and First Gen SCJ alumna. “The pride it gives your family makes it worthwhile,” she added.
Some of the resources offered specifically for first-gen students include the First-Generation Scholarship Program, FIU TRIO Programs, Department of Multicultural Programs and Services (MPAS) and Student Access and Success.
Learn more about the First Generation Scholarship Program at https://firstgen.fiu.edu/.