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The University of Alabama

UA Program Provides ‘One-Stop Shop’ for First-Generation Students

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Retaining first generation college students has been a pressing issue facing colleges nationwide. Many colleges have programs or offices to deal with this population, but by specific demographics—race, sex and financial need.

That’s what makes The University of Alabama’s new “Alabama First” program, a four-year program focused on helping these students successfully navigate through college, unique.

“The ‘Alabama First’ program oversees all of UA’s first-generation students, which is nearly 20 percent of its undergraduate enrollment,”  said Dr. Lowell K. Davis, assistant dean of students, assistant to the vice provost for Academic Affairs and coordinator of the “Alabama First” program. “It is a ‘one-stop’ shop for parents and students—the first of its kind among SEC schools.

“For many students, the move from high school to college is a foregone conclusion,” Davis said. “Their parents attended college and helped guide them through applying, registering and settling in. For some students, however, the transition to postsecondary education is not always as fluid.” 

According to Davis, support for these students started before any of them set foot onto campus for classes. In July, students who indicated they were a first generation college student on their admissions application received a mailing of the numerous resources and events that have been planned for them throughout the year.

“Students did not have to wait until Week of Welcome to learn about campus resources or programs that will benefit them,” said Davis.

Over the summer, each student was assigned a “student mentor” to help guide them through their freshmen year.

For more information on the program, go to its website, www.alabamafirst.ua.edu, or contact Davis at 205-348-3326 or lkdavis2@sa.ua.edu.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.