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Greenville Business Magazine

Furman Named To Inaugural Cohort Of First Forward Institutions

Furman University has been named to the 2019-20 inaugural cohort of 80 institutions dedicated to first-generation student success—First Forward.

First Forward is a program of the Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, as well as The Suder Foundation.

The First Forward designation recognizes institutions of higher education who have demonstrated a commitment to improving experiences and advancing outcomes of first-generation college students. Selected institutions receive professional development, community-building experiences, and access to Center’s research and resources.

“Furman’s commitment to helping first-generation students find a college pathway begins by engaging Greenville County schools as well as schools in several rural counties around the state, where our goal is to help students find their best college fit, be it Furman or another institution,” said Neil Jamerson, Furman assistant vice president for student development.

“When first-generation students choose Furman, a myriad of advisors and mentors work diligently to insure college access translates to degree attainment. Nationally, only 26 percent of first-generation students will graduate within eight years of entering college. Furman’s first-generation students graduate at nearly three times that rate, and selection as a First-Forward campus will help us develop this advantage,” added Jamerson.

“The Center is pleased to welcome Furman into our inaugural cohort of First Forward institutions. Through the application process, it was evident that Furman is not only taking steps to serve first-generation students but is prepared to make a long-term commitment and employ strategies for significant scaling and important advances in the future,” said Sarah E. Whitley, senior director of the Center for First-generation Student Success.

As a First Forward Institution, select faculty and staff will have multiple opportunities to engage with peer and aspirational institutions who are also creating environments that improve the experiences and outcomes of first-generation students.

Selected institutions will send representatives to the First Forward Workshop to be held in Orlando in June and will participate in professional development, goal setting, blog development, annual reporting, and more. After two successful years in the program, institutions are eligible to apply for the Advisory leadership designation.