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Walsh Partners with I'm First Program to Support First-Generation College Students

What's New, 2014-07-11

Walsh University has joined the national online community I'm First founded by the Center for Student Opportunity (CSO) to provide resources and support for students who are the first in their family to attend college.

This new partnership reinforces Walsh's founding mission to provide a high-quality, values-based education to all who seek it, regardless of financial limitations. Today, 46 percent of Walsh students are first-generation college students. As a partner, Walsh University will be included in the I'm First Guide to College, with access to the organization's resources for those who advise first-generation students.

Research shows that low-income, first-generation college students aspire to attend college at rates equal to their higher income peers whose parents have a college degree. It is estimated that 30 percent of students enrolled in post-secondary institutions today are first-generation college students, yet 89 percent of these students will not earn a bachelor's degree six years out from high school.

Since its inception in 2005, The Center for Student Opportunity, a national nonprofit organization based in Bethesda, MD, has created tools and resources to help first-generation college students and their supporters—parents, counselors, and mentors—on the road to and through college.

In 2013, after winning the College Knowledge Challenge—a grant competition sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation—CSO launched imfirst.org, an online campaign celebrating first-generation college students and web application designed to help aspiring first-generation college students research and plan for college.

In addition to operating imfirst.org, CSO publishes the I'm First Guide to College and maintains partnerships with colleges and universities across the country to strengthen and build awareness of their campus efforts supporting first-generation college students.