In fall of 2016, UC Santa Cruz welcomed 16,962 students. Forty-two percent (7,124) of those students were first-generation students, those whose parents had not graduated from a four-year college or university.

Following the pioneering leadership of the University of California, Irvine and with support from the UC Office of the President, in spring 2017, UC Santa Cruz joined a UC systemwide launch of the  First Generation Initiative.

This effort is focused on responding to and supporting the fast-growing first-generation college student population on the UC Santa Cruz campus.

Our goal is to create a welcoming and supportive campus environment for all of our students.

“We don’t always know who the first-generation students are in our classrooms," notes First-Generation Initiative faculty director, Dr. Rebecca Covarrubias, an assistant professor in the psychology department. "In drawing attention to the shared identities among students, staff, and faculty we send a clear message that we want you here, you belong here, and you will succeed.”

Phase one, the "First-Gen Faculty Campaign", was launched during Student Achievement week during the last week of classes in spring, 2017. This initiative served to raise visibility of first-gen faculty and those faculty who signed up as first-gen supporters. In fall 2017, the campaign was expanded to include emeriti, staff, and graduate students. In early 2018, the initiative will grow further to include undergraduate students. We also welcome alumni to join our efforts and will see you in Quarry Plaza during Alumni Weekend on Saturday, April 28, 2018.

Today, we support four interns, host annual events and workshops, and co-sponsor activities throughout the campus.