First-Generation Students

As a first-generation student, we are aware that you face unique challenges in applying, enrolling and succeeding in college. We are committed to supporting you socially, academically and financially — before you arrive on campus to graduation and beyond. 

Are you a first-generation college student? If neither of your parents graduated from a four-year college or university, you are a first-generation college student. This is still true if your siblings have completed their bachelor's degree at a four-year institution. Being a first-generation student is a very proud accomplishment! 

First-Generation Students

Our commitment to educating first-generation students runs deep. Holy Cross is one of a select group of colleges that meet the full demonstrated financial need of students. In 2018, Holy Cross joined some of the nation’s top colleges and universities as part of the American Talent Initiative to substantially expand the number of talented lower-income and first-generation students at America’s undergraduate institutions with the highest graduation rates.

of our students are first-generation

In 2021, Holy Cross was designated a First-gen Forward institution by the Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and The Suder Foundation. The First-gen Forward designation recognizes higher education institutions that demonstrate a commitment to improving experiences and advancing outcomes of first-generation college students.

As a First-gen Forward Institution, interested faculty and staff are afforded multiple opportunities to engage with peer institutions that are also creating environments that improve the experiences and outcomes of first-generation students. The Center for First-generation Student Success 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. Through four strategic priority areas, the center drives higher education innovation and advocacy for first-generation student success.

a student at commencement exercises holding his diploma and waving to onlookers
First-Generation Student

“Throughout my time on The Hill I strongly identified with my first-generation student identity. I was lucky enough to see the creation of HCF1RST Scholars, our very own first-generation student organization, come to life and provide students with the resources they didn’t know existed. The people at Holy Cross are some of the most unique you may ever meet, so don’t be afraid to go out and meet everyone because they can help you fulfill all your goals and aspirations.” — David Rodriguez '19, Italian and psychology double major 

student smiling

Numerous programs and resources are available to help make your time at Holy Cross a success.

students sitting in a faculty office
Mentors and Allies

If you’re a faculty or staff member, learn about ways you can support first-generation students at Holy Cross.

students at ALANA event

In addition to serving first-generation alumni, the First-Gen Alumni Network guides and mentors current first-generation students.


headshot of chris campbell director office of multicultural education

Chris Campbell '15

Office of Student Inclusion and Belonging
Phone: 508-793-2636
Office: Hogan 109  Box: 13A


The Office of Student Inclusion and Belonging welcomes the diversity of our students and recognizes the many identities, experiences, and stories students bring, which serve to further enhance the richness of our campus life. We hope that students find Holy Cross to be a campus community where they feel a sense of belonging, acceptance, and fulfillment. The office helps students find connections, resources, and opportunities for involvement, leadership, and service. Chris serves as the primary contact for first generation student initiatives within the Office of Student Inclusion and Belonging so please feel free to reach out if you are looking to get involved, have questions, or just to chat!


For more information or questions contact us at