First-gen Forward


The University of Louisville has been awarded First-gen Forward Designation, a national honor to recognize institutional commitment to first-generation student success.

The First-gen Forward designation recognizes institutions of higher education who have demonstrated a commitment to improving experiences and advancing outcomes of first-generation college students. Selected institutions receive professional development, community-building experiences, and a first look at the Center’s research and resources.

The University of Louisville’s efforts to support first-generation students, who comprise approximately 35% of each incoming freshmen class, include programs such as:

READY Mentoring Program

The READY Mentoring Program gets its name from an acronym, inviting students to: be Resolute, Expect success, Achieve something every day, Do not fear failure, and reminding them You can change the world. The program pairs first-generation freshmen with mentors who ease the transition to college and support student success.

1st UP

1st UP provides first-year students with wraparound support, offering both community-building as well as knowledge and skills-building experiences.

Faculty, Staff and Alumni Outreach

Ongoing identification of and outreach to faculty, staff, and alumni who are first-generation college graduates is helping build a supportive and knowledgeable professional network for UofL’s first-generation students.

Orientation courses

In Arts & Sciences, there are several sections of the Freshman Orientation courses reserved for first-generation students. This harnesses the power of the classroom to normalize the first-generation student’s experience, provide individualized support and create a community of first-generation learners.

First Scholars Program (2021-2023 Cohort)

University of Louisville was accepted into the Center for First-generation Student Success’s First Scholars Program, a multi-year strategic initiative aimed at supporting institutions through data-informed decision making in the development and promotion of first-generation student programming and support. Led by UofL’s Student Success Center, we are developing a collaborative process to capitalize on otherwise disparate campus-wide support systems for first-generation students.

These programs derive directly from the University of Louisville’s commitment to equity in student success.

As a First-gen Forward Institution, interested faculty and staff are afforded ongoing opportunities to engage with peer institutions who are also creating environments that improve the experiences and outcomes of first-generation students. “First-gen Forward is an exciting opportunity for the University of Louisville to join a dedicated community of professionals prepared to share evidence-based practices and resources, troubleshoot challenges, generate knowledge, and continue to advance the success of first-generation students across the country. We are excited to see a groundswell of activity from the First-gen Forward cohort and know the University of Louisville will be a significant contributor,” writes Dr. Kevin Kruger, president and CEO of NASPA.

To learn more about first-generation efforts at UofL, browse our First-generation Programs pages at

About the Center for First-generation Student Success

The Center is the premier source of evidence-based practices, professional development, and knowledge creation for the higher education community to advance the success of first-generation students. Based in Washington, DC, the Center aims to acknowledge the intersectional experiences of first-generation college students. It offers an outlet for sharing cutting-edge research and current media conversations, opportunities for engagement through online learning, conferences, and events, and access to a bevy of programs and services intended to improve first-generation initiatives across higher education. Learn more at


NASPA is a member-centered association supporting a diverse and passionate network of 15,000 professionals and 1,200 institutions across the globe. It is the professional home for the field of student affairs and is dedicated to cultivating student success in collaboration with the missions of its institutional members—a network of colleges and universities representing every sector of higher education.