Wearing a graduation cap and gown, senior and soon-to-be-graduate Rachel Hershberger holds a diploma cover overhead as she sits in silhouette in the lap of the Abraham Lincoln statue in front of Bascom Hall at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on May 3, 2014. The picture was created to promote UW-Madison's upcoming commencement ceremony.

First-Generation Badgers

Who is “First-Generation”?

The Center for First-generation Student Success  defines first-generation students as those whose “parent(s) did not complete a 4-year college or university degree.”

Resources for First-Generation Students

UW–Madison provides a variety of resources for first-generation undergraduate and graduate students. While some program benefits are exclusive to a program’s cohort, staff remain dedicated to supporting the success of first-generation students and can serve as a mentor/resource. Learn more at the websites linked below.

Icon of a pencil and rulerCenter for Academic Excellence (CAE)

Available to all UW–Madison students

Offers an enriching, inclusive community for low-income, rural, and/or first-gen students in Letters & Sciences (L&S)

Visit CAE

Badger Promise

Managed by Office of Student Financial Aid

Provides financial assistance (including grants and scholarships) to first-generation, Wisconsin-resident, transfer students

Visit Badger Promise

Icon of two people shaking handsCenter for Educational Opportunity

Application required

Empowers eligible students through holistic advising, campus resources, and by fostering a supportive campus climate

Visit CeO

Icon of a pencilOffice of Student Financial Aid Success Services

Available to all UW–Madison students

Facilitates student success skills with coaching, mentoring, Basic Needs support, and workshops

Visit Success Services

Icon of a hand holding moneyBANNER (Badger Aid for Non-residents)

Managed by Office of Student Financial Aid

Provides financial assistance (including grants, scholarships, work-study, and loans) to out-of-state, low-income students


Icon of three people standing togetherParent and Family Program

Available to families & supporters of UW–Madison students

Shares resources to support student success throughout college

Visit PFP

Icon of a globeFirst-Generation Students Abroad

Available to all UW–Madison students

Provides advice and resources to first-generation students who are also the first in their families to study abroad

Visit Study Abroad

Icon of a graduation capMcNair Scholars Program

Application required

Beginning in undergraduate years, bridges the transition to graduate education while working to increase the number of underrepresented students earning a Ph.D.

Visit McNair

Know a Resource for First-Generation Badgers?

Share it with Student Affairs!



Learn Who We Are

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs - Lori Reesor

“We are thrilled to be starting this initiative in support of our first-gen students. As a first-generation student myself, I recall how difficult it was at times to be learning the ins and outs of college academics and campus life without guidance or experience from my family. I’m excited to work with our campus colleagues to strengthen our offerings and community-building opportunities for first-gen students at UW.”

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lori Reesor

First-Generation Badgers Working Group

Members of the First-Generation Badgers Working Group represent offices that serve or work on behalf of first-generation students. The group aims to complete an inventory of services and support structures for first-generation students, collect new data on first-gen student satisfaction, and design ways to recognize and celebrate first-gen student accomplishments.

Barry Burden

Position title: Professor, Department of Political Science

AJ Butler

Position title: Shared Governance Chair, Associated Students of Madison

Nick Ewoldt

Position title: Assistant Dean, Center for Academic Excellence (CAE)

Photo of Audra Hernández, Director of the McNair Scholars Program

Audra Hernández

Position title: Director, McNair Scholars Program

Julie Janiak

Position title: Director, Center for Educational Opportunity (CeO)

Shelby Knuth

Position title: Assistant Director of Transfer Student Engagement

Caitlyn LoMonte

Position title: Director, Office of Inclusion Education

Justin Mumford

Position title: Deputy Director for Strategic Engagement

Christina Olstad

Credentials: Working Group Chair

Position title: Dean of Students

Amber Smith

Position title: Associate Director, WISCIENCE

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