First Generation
Scholars Program

Supporting First-Generation College Students

Will you be the first in your family to complete a 4-year college degree? Did you know that nationally, first generation college students are less likely to graduate than their continuing generation peers? Or that first generation college students have demonstrated lower levels of academic and social integration while in college?

While there is significant research to document the difficulties that first generation college students face, there is also a lot of research that demonstrates how additional academic, financial and social supports for first generation students can improve their chances of completing their college degree.

The First Generation Scholars Program at Loras College offers a scholarship up to $1,500 to support first generation college students and their families through engagement, communication, study skills, and experiential opportunities.

Unique Features
  • Supportive infrastructure for students and their families, the First Generation Scholars Program aims to enhance participating students’ overall college experience from their first week through graduation and to support them in achieving their goal of being the first in their family to complete a college degree.
  • Cohort model aids students in building meaningful connections while participating in the program
  • Receive up to a $1,500 annual scholarship based on financial need
  • Awards are renewable with continued program participation
Criteria to Qualify
  • Neither parent or guardian have completed a 4 year college degree
  • Have demonstrated financial need
  • Apply and be admitted to Loras College
  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • Submit the First Generation Scholars Program application and supporting materials by March 31
To be considered for the scholarship you must
  • Apply, and be admitted to Loras College
  • Be a first-generation student, which for this program means that your parent(s) or guardian(s) has/have no bachelor’s degree
  • Be an incoming first-time, full-time first-year, or transfer student with at least 60 credits left to complete their degree
  • Apply for financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • Preference will be given to those with unmet financial need as determined by the Loras College financial planning office
  • Be willing to fully participate in the First Generation Scholars Program and activities for as long as the award is accepted.
  • Submit the program application and additional materials by March 31 (see application process below).
Students selected to be a First Generation Scholar must:

Loras First Gen Chart

  • Agree to attend the Loras College First Generation Scholars Welcome prior to Launch into Loras;
  • Agree to participate in 4 years (2 years if transfer student) of progressive and socially challenging programming, campus activities, and career readiness workshops;
  • Agree to attend designated meetings with the Director of Intercultural Programs or designee;
  • Transition to leadership roles as upperclassman with participation as student leader in the First Generation Scholars Welcome program and potential mentorship role for incoming students;


  • Maintain full time status;
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress toward degree completion;
  • Abide by all Loras College policies found in the student handbook;
  • Represent the college in a positive manner

Disclaimer: The College reserves the right to change program participation criteria. Any changes would be made in the Spring term for Fall implementation.

    Application Process
    • Students must apply and be accepted to Loras College in order to complete the following scholarship application
    • Students must complete the FAFSA and have the results sent to Loras College (Code 001873)
    • Students must complete the First Generation Scholars application and all supporting materials by March 31.
      The application includes:

      • Online scholarship application (see button below)
      • email an essay of roughly 300 – 500 word personal essay introducing yourself, your family / support structure at home, career goals and your interests in Loras College. Please share some of the challenges you have faced and how you worked through them. lastly, address what impact an undergraduate degree from Loras would have on you, your family /support and community.

    Application submission is now closed and will reopen in the fall.

    Login and password required for scholarship application.
    If you do not have a Loras login, please contact your admission representative or email



    Resources for First Generation College Students

    Strive for College

    There’s something special about being first. The first in flight, first man on the moon, the first African-American president, first kisses, first impressions, first place, and being among the first in your family to attend and graduate from college!

    I’m First—Created by nonprofit Center for Student Opportunity to provide students who lack a family history of higher education with inspiration, information, and support on the road to and through college

    Strive for College—a national nonprofit that also runs a national online mentoring program for college-bound students.


    Advise From First Generation College Students

    First in the Family: Advice About College from First-Generation Students—Your High School Years
    by Kathleen Cushman

    “If we can do it, so can you!” That’s the message sent to students in this advice book, written with college students who were the first in their families to go past high school. It’s tough to aim for college if other family members have not—so this book offers the kind of encouraging, practical guidance that an older sibling would give. Inspiring stories of the diverse student contributors—who end up at institutions from community colleges to elite universities—combine with warm and well-organized counsel and checklists.

    Click the button below to read the ebook version.

    First in the Family: Advice About College from First-Generation Students


    Questions? Let’s get in touch.

    Please reach out to us if you have any questions or would like to discuss the program further.

    Sergio Perez
    Director of Intercultural Programs