first gen
April 13, 2022

$1 million award supports first generation students

Grant will provide financial aid and guidance throughout all four years of college

Author: UCR News
April 13, 2022

UC Riverside has been selected as one of 10 American Talent Initiative members to participate in the Kessler Scholars Collaborative. As part of the collaborative, UCR will receive a five-year, $1 million grant.

First established at the University of Michigan in 2008, Kessler Scholars provides student financial support and academic, professional, and personal support services to first-generation, limited-income students throughout their four-year college experiences.

First Gen UCR logo

UC Riverside will make plans to welcome the first class of 20 Kessler Scholars in Fall 2023, said Thomas Dickson, assistant vice provost of Undergraduate Education.

“The grant will expand on our existing efforts from the TRIO and First-Gen Initiatives offices in supporting first generation students," Dickson said. "Specifically, UCR will support first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented minority students, seeking to innovate methods to better help students to and through graduation, as well as engage in high-impact practices and activities for career readiness."

Over the five-year grant period, July 2022 to June 2027, UCR will devote at least 52% of the total grant, or $520,000, to direct student aid. 

Joining the collaborative in 2023 with UCR are Bates College, Brown University, Centre College, Ohio State University, Saint Mary’s College (IN), University of Dayton, University of Pittsburgh, Washington University in St. Louis, and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. The collaborative also includes six inaugural campus partners: Cornell University, Johns Hopkins University, Queens College, St. Francis College, Syracuse University, and the University of Michigan, where the first Kessler Scholars Program was established. 


The grant is made possible with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Judy and Fred Wilpon Family Foundation. 


The American Talent Initiative, or ATI, includes more than 125 top colleges and universities nationwide committed to enrolling, supporting, and graduating more than 50,000 talented students from lower-income backgrounds by 2025.

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