We're a university of college trailblazers

See how we're helping first-gen students thrive

California’s pioneering spirit is at work in thousands of UC students seeking to be the first in their family to earn a degree.

They join faculty, staff, students and university leaders who themselves were the first to go to college. They are an important part of what makes UC great and how we're working to keep California a land of opportunity.

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39% of UC undergraduates are first-generation.

Jessica Fate Bayudan

“College is a brand new chapter that takes a lot of navigating. “Do” college at your own pace and to your own accord. It’s not a competition.”

— Jessa Fate Bayudan, UCLA

Explore student stories

82% of UC's first-generation students graduate within six years... compared with only 11% nationally, among low income first-generation students. (Pell Institute, 2008)

“I was part of a minority engineering program. That is where I found the most kindred spirits and the most positive community I could have had.”

— Olivia Graeve, UC San Diego

Explore faculty stories

Olivia Graeve

7 years after graduation, UC first-gen students' median income has surpassed that of their families.

Jermaine Griggs

“I relied on my independence, tenacity and ability to take things lightly — because college was a walk in the park compared to where I grew up.”

— Jermaine Griggs, UC Irvine

Explore alumni stories

49% of UC's first-generation students are African American, Latino/Chicano or American Indian.

39% of UC's first-generation students speak English as a second language.

60% of UC's first-generation students are from lower-income households.

“That sense that there is a limitless universe of knowledge to be learned has remained with me my entire life.”

— Kim A. Wilcox, UC Riverside

Explore leadership stories

Kim A. Wilcox
Esthela Bañuelos

“First-gen students often bring exceptional qualities that are not always recognized.”

— Esthela Bañuelos, UC Santa Cruz

Explore staff stories

First-Generation Student Success at the University of California

This policy brief explores how UC serves first-generation students, what is working to help them thrive and how their education contributes to a strong California economy.

Download the policy brief (PDF)

FirstGen Student Success