WVU receives national recognition for commitment to first-generation students

West Virginia University’s FirstGen Initiatives are being awarded the First-gen Forward...
West Virginia University’s FirstGen Initiatives are being awarded the First-gen Forward designation. This designation provides WVU with access to additional professional development opportunities, community-building experiences, research and resources to improve WVU’s first-gen programming and campus life.(Jennifer Shephard | Jennifer Shephard / WVU Photo)
Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 4:09 PM EDT
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WDTV) - WVU has been awarded the First-gen Forward designation one year after partnering with a national program aimed at improving first-generation student success.

The designation comes from the Center for First-Generation Student Success, an initiative of Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and The Suder Foundation.

The Center is home to the First Scholars Network, which WVU was selected to join in 2021 to help enhance the campus experience for first-generation students.

“The First-gen Forward designation honors the dedication of our campus team members as we work toward increasing first-gen retention rates,” said Evan Widders, associate provost for undergraduate education. “Although we’ve seen progress and a 7% increase in our first-gen retention rate since 2017, we know we have more work to do.”

Widders added that, as the University continues its Academic Transformation efforts, utilizing First-gen Forward resources and engaging with peer institutions will help WVU work toward closing the achievement gap for its first-gen population as well as enhance student success opportunities and improve retention for all students.

WVU now joins over 275 participating institutions that have received the First-gen Forward designation and will take part in the 2022-2023 cohort of 53 higher education institutions.

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