First-generation College Students

Welcome First Generation College Students!

While going off to college can be challenging for all students, it takes extra courage and determination to be a first-generation student. At NIU, you're not alone: more than half of our undergraduate students are among the first generation in their family to attend a four-year college.

Our resources will help you get what you need to lead the life you want today and after graduation. We're here to help you open doors and connect with our community of first-generation students, as well as faculty and staff who will support and encourage you throughout your journey.

We welcome you to learn more about the helpful programs and services we offer. You can also join our support group, Breaking Barriers

Get Involved

These programs and experiences will help you adjust to life at NIU and make the most of your time on campus:

Support and Wellness

We care about your health. Learn about resources to support your physical, mental and emotional wellness:

Paying for College

Our advisors in the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office can help you understand your options for affording college.

Contact the Office of the Bursar for information on paying your bill.


First-generation Huskie Spotlights

Wilfredo Najarro

I wanted smaller class sizes so I could receive individualized attention. As a first-generation college student, this was important to me. NIU really sold me on the idea that I would be put in a position to succeed and, truthfully, I have.

Judith Gil

My mother Maria and two siblings, Vianey and Junior, are the most important people in the world to me. As a first-generation Latina, this is not my degree — it’s our degree.

Erin Hernandez

As a first generation college student, I chose NIU because I wanted to broaden my horizons outside of Chicago and I was interested in NIU's language programs and the political science program. I had friends at NIU and I have family that have graduated from NIU so I wanted to keep that tradition going.

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