Texas State University Proudly Celebrates Our First-Generation Students

From President Denise Trauth to Students, Faculty, and Staff in TXST Connections

November 8, 2019

First-generation students have made Texas State University and the education experience provided stronger, bolstering our culture of tenacity, hard work, and academic achievement. Today, forty-six percent of our students are first-generation. Our first-gen students and their families believe in the power of education, and Texas State believes in them. 

Texas State proudly joins the nation to celebrate First-Gen Week to mark the success of students who, sometimes against great odds, are the first in their families to attend college.

Our commitment to their success fueled us to build a robust and student-focused first-gen program, combining academic engagement, support services, family involvement, and meaningful, personal connections.

Key to first-gen student success is Texas State’s nationally-recognized Personalized Academic and Career Exploration (PACE) Center, a one-stop location where students receive help setting career goals and building a specific educational plan to achieve those goals. Through our PACE Center, incoming first-year students benefit from at least five dedicated staff and faculty members positioned to help them succeed: an academic advisor, a peer mentor, an academic coach, a career counselor, and a University Seminar faculty member. New students are required to take the University Seminar class, a first-year experience course that connects them to resources and services on campus and helps them develop their purpose for pursuing a college degree. We designed a University Seminar custom-made for first-gen students, which is taught by a Texas State faculty member who was a first-gen student. Texas State has a cross-disciplinary First-Gen Students Committee that helps shape programs, actions, and policies with first-gen students in mind. 

Our support extends beyond the first-year experience by following the mantra, “Once a first-gen, always a first-gen.” Transfer first-gen students to Texas State and first-gen students who pursue a graduate degree can also access specially designed resources and programs. 

Threaded through these programs are common themes of shared vision, intention, and community building. All the faculty and staff who play a part in the success of first-gen students come to the table, each focused on how they can help students reach their educational goals. 

When first-gen students enroll in college, it’s not just these students who are forever changed, but their families are changed as well. A college degree has the power to alter the trajectory of an entire family’s economic future. At Texas State, we are intentional about involving a first-gen student’s family in the educational process, working directly with parents and family members to validate the benefits of higher education, address questions or concerns, and help position the students’ families to be the best support system they can be. 

Investing in the success of first-gen students is investing in the future of Texas families and ultimately the state economy. Ninety-six percent of our students come from Texas, and almost 90 percent of our alumni live and work in Texas. The demographics of our student body more closely mirror Texas than any other public university in the state. First-gen students who are educated here are truly building the future of Texas. 

Texas State has become a beacon of learning, growth, and new opportunities for students from all backgrounds. First-generation students, their experiences, and their contributions are vital to our Texas State community. We are proud to honor them this week, and every day beyond. 

two pie charts showing demographics