What is a First-Generation Student?
You are considered a first-generation student if neither of your parents earned a bachelor’s degree. We know this definition may not fully account for the rich diversity of first-generation college students. For example, your parent(s) may have some college experience but did not earn a degree, or an older sibling or extended family member may have earned a college degree. No matter what your background, SUNY Oneonta is dedicated to supporting your success.
Approximately 35% of our enrolled students identify as first-generation students.
SUNY Oneonta supports each student with personalized academic advisement, from your first semester through graduation. Advisers are faculty or staff who will help you navigate your SUNY Oneonta academic experience. They are assigned to you by the major in which you are enrolled. If you are undecided, you’ll still have an adviser; once you declare your major, you will be assigned a new adviser in the department that matches your interest.
When you get involved in campus life, you’ll make social connections, find friends, discover new interests, develop leadership skills and have fun! Oneonta has more than 150 student clubs and organizations to choose from, a supportive residential life community, and a wide range of activities and events on campus to keep you entertained and engaged. It’s easy to find your place and feel like you’re a part of a community here.
SUNY Oneonta students, faculty and staff welcome people of all backgrounds and strive to be part of an inclusive community that values and celebrates differences. We have many multicultural student clubs and hold diversity-themed events all year. Students can get involved and find support through the Office of Equity and Inclusion Peer Mentor Program, Gender and Sexuality Resource Center, and Center for Racial Justice and Inclusive Excellence.
The advisors and staff in our Financial Aid and Scholarships Office are here to help you navigate the financial aid process each year. We offer payment plans and a comprehensive financial assistance program that includes grants and scholarships that you do not have to pay back, loans that must be repaid, and student employment income. When you apply for aid, you’ll be assigned a financial aid advisor to support you.
To recognize the hard work and academic success of our first-gen students, SUNY Oneonta has established a chapter of Alpha Alpha Alpha (Tri-Alpha), the national honor society for first-generation students. Our first group of honorees was inducted in spring 2022. Membership is open to first-generation students who have earned at least 30 credit/semester hours toward a bachelor’s degree and have achieved an overall grade-point average of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale.
First-Generation Celebration Day
November 8 is National First-Generation Celebration Day! We’re excited to join colleges and universities across the country in recognizing and celebrating the achievements of our first-generation students, faculty, staff and alumni. This is a time not only to recognize your hard work and resilience, but also to help our whole campus community better understand the systemic barriers plaguing higher education and the supports needed for first-generation students to access and succeed at college.