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The CIC/Walmart College Success Awards program includes two cohorts of institutions strengthening first-generation programs on their own campuses and working together to share lessons and insights. Institutions participating in the program were selected in two rounds of competitive applications during 2008 and 2010.

2008 College Success Award Recipients

In 2008, 20 institutions were selected to receive awards of $100,000. These campus programs demonstrated the greatest promise of increasing enrollment, retention, graduation rates, and college-level learning among first-generation students.

Adrian College

The Adrian College Educational Success (ACES) project provided first-generation students with faculty mentors who were themselves first-generation college students. The program also offered workshops on 17 Habits of the Mind and included such topics as time management, impulsivity management, metacognition, and finding humor. Students who successfully completed each semester of the program received vouchers to cover some of their textbook expenses. Learn More.

Bay Path University

Bay Path University's multi-faceted program targeted first-generation students’ transition from the first to second year of college and offered them the opportunity to choose from many different programs: a refined First Year Experience Leadership Program, strengthened New Student Orientation, a “generations banquet” bringing women from several generations together, job shadowing, educational travel, mentorship programs, a summer reading program, and opportunities to participate in faculty research projects. Learn More.

Bellarmine University

Bellarmine University’s first-generation students, called “Pioneer Scholars,” were provided with peer mentors who supported students in their transition from high school to college, helped them cope with and overcome academic challenges, and helped them access and use the academic support and other resources of the institution. In addition, the first-generation student advisor—a new, part-time staff position—worked with first-generation students individually and coordinated services for them across the campus. The university provided attractive incentives to students who signed a contract to participate. Learn More.

California Lutheran University

California Lutheran University targeted first-generation transfer students by strengthening efforts to improve their academic preparation and to integrate them into the university community. A cohort of first-generation transfer students was introduced into an already successful summer bridge program. These students also received scholarships and were actively recruited to participate in Student Support Services. In addition, the program provided students with opportunities to explore career and graduate school options. Learn More.

Carroll University

Carroll University's First-Generation Student Success Program, based on a successful nursing program for Hispanic students, consisted of a multi-pronged approach to address the recruitment, retention, and graduation of first-generation students of Hispanic origin. Participating students received scholarships of $2,000 and engaged in activities that provided extensive contact with faculty members, staff advisors, and student mentors. Students also participated in a variety of social and cultural events. The CIC/Walmart Award also allowed the university to increase outreach efforts to an area high school. Learn More.

College of Mount Saint Vincent

The College of Mount Saint Vincent used its CIC/Walmart Award to improve programming for first-generation commuter students. The program included frequent breakfast and lunchtime programs on topics helpful to students, as well as social and cultural enrichment activities such as educational excursions to draw these students to campus in the evenings and weekends. The program also launched a Parent Support Initiative, which included a newsletter and one-day orientation planned specifically for parents. Learn More.

College of Saint Benedict

The CIC/Walmart Award enabled the College of Saint Benedict to hire a new program coordinator who planned the program, recruited students to participate, and organized a wide variety of social events and workshops. Newsletters were emailed and mailed to students and parents of first-generation students. Funds also were used to send first-generation students to national leadership conferences. Other funds helped first-generation students take advantage of out-of-classroom experiences such as alternative spring break, research, internships, and May Term travel. Learn More.

College of St. Scholastica

The College of St. Scholastica's Project WISE (Walmart Initiative for Success in Education) provided trained faculty mentors and peer mentoring to first-generation students. WISE began with a Summer Launch, a two-day residential bridge event that included a luncheon for parents. WISE offered a succession of events designed to build links between mentors and mentees, including community service and a reception for parents at Homecoming/Family Weekend. A book stipend rewarded students for their participation. Outreach efforts were funded to expand enrollment of first-generation students. Learn More.

Florida Memorial University

Florida Memorial University developed an at-risk intervention program to support enrollment, retention, and graduation of black and Hispanic men. Elements of the program included required counseling and tutoring. Mentoring services were provided by the College Explorers students and the university’s alumni. A variety of cultural and recreational activities were sponsored, and scholarships and book vouchers were used to support the program. Retention Ambassadors who were first-generation students were hired to assist with recruitment and provide tutoring and peer counseling. Learn More.

Illinois College

Illinois College used its CIC/Walmart College Success Award to begin the Yates Fellowship Program. Yates Fellows are first-generation college students selected to participate in a two-week intensive summer bridge program, as well as a year-long learning community providing a jump start in the transition to college studies. Yates includes special coursework in math and English, and Yates Fellows are guided to use the college’s academic support services. Fellows are convened for a variety of activities. Learn More.

Juniata College

In Juniata College’s InBound First, Next Generation Scholars program, Pell-eligible first-generation students received Next Generation Scholarships for a one-week pre-orientation program. CIC/Walmart Award funds supported their participation and allowed students to recover some lost wages. The program was designed to help students become accustomed to campus life and to get to know other students with similar interests through participation in a summer retreat of their choice. The students received a stipend to help cover textbook and laboratory expenses during their first semester. Learn More.

Kalamazoo College

Kalamazoo College’s curriculum includes heavy emphasis on internships and externships, which can raise costs or reduce earnings and have a negative impact on first-generation students. The college used its CIC/Walmart Award to provide financial support for first-generation students to undertake these important curricular choices. The program also included a brunch with families in the fall; the support of an advisory group of upper-class, first-generation students; bi-weekly meetings; and a parent tool kit. Learn More.

Lesley University

After a semester of planning and visits to community college TRIO/Access programs, Lesley University conducted a campus survey and focus groups to identify challenges in enrolling and serving first-generation students. A First-to-Lesley Fellows (F2LF) program was begun to build a cadre of first-generation students to both advise and support first-generation students. The Fellows received a stipend and helped host middle and high school students visiting campus. Award funds also were used to increase scholarship support for first-generation transfer students. Learn More.

Manchester University

Manchester University’s College Achievement Program (MCAP) focused on high school juniors and seniors who would be the first in their families to earn a college degree. These students were enrolled at nine high schools in the university’s area. The program included a series of six workshops, opportunities for campus overnight events, one-on-one assistance, a three-day summer program, and mentoring. Parents were involved, too, to gain their support for their student’s participation. The program also included book awards and scholarships. Learn More.

North Central College

Teach First is North Central College’s program for first-generation students who want to become teachers. The program provides mentoring and resources, including an annual scholarship, to help aspiring teachers meet their goals. Students meet regularly in large and small group settings, receive individualized guidance, and become part of a support network. Teach First also provides students with opportunities to attend teaching workshops and professional education meetings, exposure to a classroom setting beginning in the first year, and many field experiences. Learn More.

Ripon College

Ripon College’s summer bridge program, a three-day early orientation program for first-generation students, was created to form the basis for improved retention and graduation rates for these students. The bridge created a support network with other first-year students and staff and faculty members, and it included reading and writing workshops. During the academic year, peer mentors and tutors provided further support, and students undertook a career shadowing experience. Book, travel, and meal vouchers provided incentives for participation. Learn More.

St. Edward’s University

The St. Edward’s University Bridge to College Success was a four-week summer orientation for first-generation students, most of them the children of migrant workers. The 17 participants were given stipends to enable them to come to the campus for the bridge experience in June. Participants followed a demanding daily lineup of reading, writing, and math lessons with tutoring in the evening. Older first-generation students served as peer mentors, and on weekends the group toured cultural sites in Austin. Learn More.

The College of Idaho

First-generation Latino students demonstrating financial need received $3,000 renewable scholarships. In addition, all first-generation Latino students at the college participated in a bilingual parent/family orientation program; a variety of educational, cultural, and career-oriented activities; and an end-of-year celebration. Throughout the year, participants worked with student tutors and peer mentors, and members of the college staff remained in touch with parents. Learn More.

Wartburg College

Wartburg College’s Generation Orange is designed to connect first-generation students with the wide array of support services already available at the college. A program coordinator recruited students into the program and worked individually and in small groups with the students. A key goal was to get the students engaged with college life and services. A variety of seminars were provided, and participants who completed the year-long program were awarded scholarships. Learn More.

Wiley College

Wiley College is a historically black college with an open admission policy. Only a third of its students arrive prepared to start the standard college curriculum. The college used its CIC/Walmart Award to pilot “linked courses” that paired general education coursework in U.S. history or English composition with developmental coursework. The aim was to see if students can be remediated in one semester and remain on schedule to graduate with their class. This also required carefully-crafted faculty development activities. Learn More.

2010 College Success Award Recipients

Thirty institutions were selected in 2010. Twenty institutions received Awards of $100,000 and ten institutions received $50,000 Awards. The ten $50,000 Awards were designated for worthy projects of a more limited scope of impact or that were more experimental in nature.

$100,000 Awards

Alma College

Alma College’s First Generation Connections program focused on supporting first-generation students through extensive peer and faculty mentoring programs to help students anticipate choices they will have and access resources for success; help students recognize challenges and identify strategies to overcome them; and expose students to various role models who can help first-generation students identify with college and post-graduate success. Parents also were engaged, and a book award provided a modest financial incentive for participation. Learn More.

Alverno College

The CIC/Walmart College Success Award allowed Alverno College to hire an advising specialist to lead the Promise Scholars program and advise first-generation students. The program had five main activities: agreements outlining scholars’ planned course of studies; small group sessions to build peer support and promote persistence; early intervention in issues threatening student progress; micro emergency financial aid grants to help participants meet unexpected financial challenges; and Promise Scholarships. Participants were asked to sign a contract. Learn More.

Berea College

Berea College’s CIC/Walmart College Success Award program focused on students from counties considered “distressed” by the Appalachian Regional Commission. Berea implemented a peer-mentoring program to help students integrate academic, work, and residential aspects of life on campus. Participating first-generation students also were paired with a faculty or staff mentor. In addition, incoming students were assessed for levels of self-efficacy on tasks essential to success in college so that students received immediate individualized guidance on ways to improve areas of deficiency. Learn More.

Catawba College

Catawba College’s NextGen Project had two goals: to increase the social and cultural capital of first-generation students and increase retention among these students. The strategies used took advantage of existing programs: faculty and staff development, the First-Year Seminar program, and outreach to families of first-generation students. All of the program students also were able to participate in a field trip to Washington, DC, to visit museums and galleries, attend a theatre performance, and watch a professional athletic event. Learn More.

Clark Atlanta University

The First-Year College Success Program (FYCSP) of Clark Atlanta University targeted first-year, first-generation students in business and the natural sciences (primarily biology). The program aimed to help students improve academic skills and enhance their sense of belonging in order to improve success and retention. A first-year seminar course was designed for students in each area; the program used corporate leaders or alumni to enrich the experience. Participants could apply for financial gap awards and take advantage of a variety of tutorial sessions. Learn More.

DePaul University

DePaul University established the Internship Plu$ Program in July 2010. The program enabled 60 first-generation undergraduate students, with financial need, to undertake unpaid internships related to their fields of academic study and intended careers. It also provided $1,300 awards to each student who completed the program. The goal was to improve access to internships and demonstrate clear retention benefits. The design of the program linked the internship to a four-credit experiential learning course. Learn More.

Elizabethtown College

Elizabethtown College’s Momentum program aimed to prepare and support first-generation students to successfully achieve an integrative, transformational liberal education. The program began with a ten-day orientation or summer bridge program in August supplemented with highly structured and intense advising by a staff advisor and peer academic advisers. Group tours to Philadelphia and Washington, DC, also were included in the program. The program was built on the first-year seminar program offered to all first-year students. Learn More.

Franklin College

The Franklin First Scholars and Franklin First Families programs aimed to raise first-generation student and family awareness of academic and social expectations of college, improve students’ and families’ ability to negotiate “college systems,” and create a network of contacts for the program participants. The programs targeted students from neighboring Johnson County and contiguous counties. The programs involved a summer bridge, an alumna/us mentor, special sections of a Leadership Seminar, programming to support students in setting goals, and events for families. Learn More.

Guilford College

Guilford College’s CIC/Walmart College Success Award was used to fund an effort to foster the success of adult first-generation students. Participating students met regularly with trained peer mentors, attended workshops and seminars on topics that addressed first-generation student needs, and participated in networking events with faculty, staff, and other students. The college developed a one-credit course, Gateways to Student Success, to help acclimate students to college and offered workshops regularly. Half-time counselors and graduate student interns staffed the program. Learn More.

Lynchburg College

Building on existing first-semester programs for all new students, Lynchburg College’s Expand Your Horizons program began in January of the second semester with a retreat designed to develop group cohesion between first-generation students and faculty, staff, and peer mentors. Structured peer mentoring continued through the semester with regular meetings focused on helping students to develop their four-year plans. Each student enrolled in two courses that were linked, and each student received a $750 grant for an experiential learning opportunity. Learn More.

Mars Hill University

Research FIRST expanded undergraduate research programming at Mars Hill University, supporting efforts to increase the number of first-generation students who participated in faculty-mentored research. Research FIRST featured programming for grant-proposal writing, research/project management, accountability reporting, on-campus and off-campus presentations of research, research-related travel, and faculty-mentored cultural enrichment. Research FIRST also supported a book fund for first-generation students as well as a special section of Liberal Arts in Action, Mars Hill’s seminar for first-time, first-year students. Learn More.

Mercyhurst University

Mercyhurst University’s Steps to Success program aimed to enhance the recruitment and retention of students on its junior college campus as they made decisions about continuing their education at the university campus. Forty-five percent of the students in the junior college are first-generation. Strategies included improving services through a writing and mathematics resource center and lab; assigning peer mentors; increasing marketing efforts; and offering book vouchers, social events, and scholarships. The program also focused on articulation agreements between the two campuses. Learn More.

Mills College

Mills College used its CIC/Walmart College Success Award to support the retention of first-generation students who are non-native English or multilingual speakers, expanding upon its summer academic workshop, peer tutoring, and writing center. The college created a communications program to focus on academic writing, oral presentation, and self-advocacy skills. English courses were tailored to student needs, students were given peer academic support, and students were mentored and taught by faculty members trained in the needs of non-native English or multilingual students. Learn More.

Notre Dame de Namur University

Notre Dame de Namur University’s Gen 1 program used three components to improve retention and success among its first-generation students. First, participants enrolled in a learning strategies course focused on improving reading and study skills. Second, a speaker series provided practical information to participants. And, third, participants were provided with an upper-level mentor for encouragement and advice. A financial incentive, in the form of a $1,500 scholarship, was awarded to those completing the program and earning at least a 2.5 GPA. Learn More.

Notre Dame of Maryland University

Notre Dame of Maryland University’s Trailblazer Scholars Program adopted a broad agenda of outreach, personal development, and academic enrichment activities in support of its first-generation students. A high-impact service experience during their initial year was a key element. Each student had a Big Sister peer mentor. The program offered several workshops for first-generation students. The program also offered two yearly events for parents, two yearly events involving first-generation alumnae, and regular consultations with staff and tutors of the Academic and Career Enrichment Center. Learn More.

Rosemont College

Rosemont College’s five-day summer bridge program, Success and Motivation, introduced first-generation students to its program, which included classes in study skills and orientation, college writing, and college reading. Participants also met their mentors who worked with them through the first year. The program offered a first-year seminar, study sessions, and workshops as well as a four-day session over spring break. The program also engaged parents and alumni. A $725 stipend was awarded to those completing the program. Learn More.

Stetson University

Stetson University used its CIC/Walmart College Success Award to establish a more cohesive and systematic process where first-generation students are provided mentors and services through the SU First Generation Peer Mentoring program. Peer mentors received a one-week training program before fall semester, and incoming first-generation students and their parents participated in a one-day summer bridge program. The program also sponsored a welcome reception during orientation weekend and an alumni dinner. SU First is now led by a student success coach. Learn More.

Stevenson University

Stevenson University’s Generation One (Gen1) initiative paired 30 first-generation students with a faculty or staff mentor who also had been a first-generation student. The mentoring program provided structure and consistent contact leading to improved persistence and academic performance. Participating students attended a variety of workshops throughout the year and several off-campus outings. The outings ranged from Broadway musicals to the National Zoo and helped increase group cohesion and expand social capital. A small scholarship was awarded to participants. Learn More.

Thomas College

Thomas College used its CIC/Walmart College Success Award to develop EDGE, a week-long summer bridge program offered in August. EDGE included an intensive college course, Foundations of Quantitative Analysis, and offered workshops for first-generation students as well as peer tutoring and a one-day service project. Students in EDGE continued to meet with academic coaches throughout the fall semester. Each student completing the bridge program received a $500 book stipend. Learn More.

University of St. Francis

The University of St. Francis University Success Scholars Program had four components: the option of participating in a five-day Summer Academy bridge program or meeting with a peer or faculty mentor through the first semester; tutoring, workshops, cultural field trips, social events, and student-faculty engagement opportunities; activities and workshops to help students hone their leadership skills; and financial assistance through book vouchers and a computer (laptop) loan program. Learn More.

$50,000 Awards

Cardinal Stritch University

Cardinal Stritch focused its CIC/Walmart Award on efforts to retain first-generation students in the STEM fields. The Student Retention and Success (SSRS) program included scholarship support ($2,000); a variety of services, such as academic support, particularly through a science tutor; faculty mentors; engagement activities; and four paid summer research internships. Learn More.

Chaminade University of Honolulu

Chaminade’s CIC/Walmart College Success Award was used to support first-generation students in affording the university’s summer bridge program, which aims to help students improve reading, writing, and mathematics skills as well as to gain support in making the transition to college life and expectations. Chaminade also prepared native-language videos and brochures for three of the biggest cultural groups in the Pacific: American Samoa, Micronesia, and Native Hawaiian. These resources are particularly valuable in building connections with parents. Learn More.

Defiance College

The Defiance College Connections Program was designed to help first-generation students make the transition from high school to college. The program aims to develop a sense of community among first-generation students and to support the success of these students through programming, social gatherings, mentoring, and workshops. Through these efforts, students developed valuable skill sets, were connected to role models and mentors, gained cultural awareness, and learned how to navigate the many different facets of college. Participants received a textbook voucher. Learn More.

Emmanuel College

CIC/Walmart funding supported ecEDGE, which began with a three-day summer bridge program for first-generation students and continued through the year with mentoring, support systems, and scheduled events. To strengthen the program the second cohort participated in an intensive two-week bridge. Called ecPULSE (Emmanuel College Program for Undergraduate Leadership and Scholarship Excellence), the program continued the workshops and mentoring of the ecEDGE program. Students received a $300 book stipend. Learn More.

Eureka College

Eureka College’s CIC/Walmart Award initiative began with a three-day summer bridge program, “Early College Program in the Humanities and the Arts,” which aimed to expand students’ social and cultural capital so that they would understand how the liberal arts prepares one for a productive career and strengthens life chances. The program continued during the year to include peer mentors, bi-annual dinners where first-generation students met successful adults who were themselves first-generation students, a cultural events series, and an orientation session tailored for parents. Learn More.

Heritage University

Heritage University’s CIC/Walmart College Success Award was used to provide first-generation students with mentors from among faculty, staff, alumni, or the community. The goal of the Heritage Stars Mentoring Program was to increase retention, improve academic performance, and enable participants to flourish in their college years and beyond. In support of these mentor relationships, periodic events were scheduled throughout the year, including kick-off events in fall and winter, fall and spring workshops, and a year-end celebration. Learn More.

McKendree University

McKendree organized a First-Generation Student Success Office to lead its McKendree Firsts initiative to improve services to first-generation students. The university particularly focused on extending academic support services, including tutoring, to off-campus sites and students in online programs. This service included a website for students and their families. Twenty scholarships for first-generation students were offered to stimulate attention to the program by students in all locations. A new Parent Association was formed to support first-generation students and others. Learn More.

Saint Augustine’s University

The Saint Augustine’s Walmart Success (SAWS) program was designed to introduce first-generation freshmen and sophomores to careers in industries where minorities are underrepresented. Students participated in a series of workshops, cultural events, and seminars that enhanced their professionalism and raised their level of cultural competency. A select number of students were able to receive a stipend and summer housing while working in eight-week summer internships secured through partnerships between the university and local businesses. Learn More.

Wabash College

Wabash College undertook two CIC/Walmart Award-funded activities in support of its Generation-to-Generation (G2G) Program. First, the college developed an Early Alert System (EASy), a software program that provides an easy, confidential, and online means for faculty and staff to report students who are having difficulty. Second, an Alumni-Student Mentoring Program linked a group of first-generation students with alumni mentors. Most of the students in the program are minorities. A spring or summer internship opportunity also was organized for some of the participating students. Learn More.

Woodbury University

Woodbury University integrated career development activities into academic curricular offerings in order to help first-generation students in business strengthen the connection between their learning and career goals. A career counselor was hired to lead this effort in cooperation with the School of Business. After some experimentation, the career development content was moved out of the actual class sessions and offered through separate, required workshops. Learn More.