Senators Marshall, Reverend Warnock Introduce Bipartisan Resolution Celebrating First-Generation College Students
Senator Roger Marshall (R-KS) and Senator Reverend Warnock, led the introduction of the First-Generation College Celebration Resolution, which honors first-generation students and commemorates the legislative achievements that have provided resources for them.
Resolution designates November 8, 2023, as “National First-Generation College Celebration Day”
First-generation college students comprise more than 56 percent of all undergraduate students in the U.S.
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Roger Marshall (R-KS) along with Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA), led the introduction of the First-Generation College Celebration Resolution, which honors first-gen students and commemorates the legislative achievements that have provided resources for them. The resolution designates November 8, 2023, as “National First-Generation College Celebration Day.”. Senators Ossoff (D-GA), Baldwin (D-WI), Barrasso (R-WY), Braun (R-IN), Booker (D-NJ), Capito (R-WV), Collins (R-ME), Coons (D-DE), Crapo (R-ID), Cortez Masto (D-NV), Durbin (D-IL), Grassley (R-IA), Hirono (D-HI), Lujan (D-NM), Murphy (D-CT), Risch (R-ID), Vance (R-OH), Padilla (D-CA), Rosen (D-NV), and Whitehouse (D-RI) cosponsored the resolution.
“As a first-generation college graduate, I know the grit and determination it takes to break through barriers and be the first in your family to pursue higher education opportunities,” said Senator Marshall. “National First-Generation College Celebration Day is an opportunity for our nation to shine a spotlight on the stories and achievements of first-generation college students. To all the first-generation students: This is a day to applaud your resilience, the countless hours you’ve spent studying late into the night after a full day of work, and the sacrifices you’ve made to achieve your dreams. Your success is a testament to the strength of your spirit and dedication to the promise of a brighter future.”
“As a first-generation college graduate, I know I would not have been able to open all the doors Morehouse College provided for me if it were not for the Higher Education Act of 1965,” said Senator Reverend Warnock. “College education is a gateway to a brighter life, and I am proud to partner with Senator Marshall, as well as Representatives Moore and Gonzales, in leading this bipartisan effort to recognize National First-Generation College Celebration Day. I look forward to continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make it easier for more students to achieve their higher education dreams.”
“Being the first in your family to graduate college is an amazing accomplishment that requires hard work and a special kind of resolve and determination. I join my colleagues in celebrating this achievement with our bipartisan, bicameral resolution. As Co-Chair of the bipartisan TRIO Caucus, I remain committed to ensuring TRIO programs are providing supportive services for first-generation college students through their journey,” said Congresswoman Gwen Moore.
“I went from being a high school dropout to obtaining two collegiate degrees — I know firsthand the unique struggle of many of our first-generation college students and the grit and determination required by them to obtain higher educational opportunities,” said Congressman Tony Gonzales. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in commemorating National First-Generation College Celebration Day and acknowledging the achievements of first-generation college graduates across the nation. I look forward to partnering with members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in this bipartisan effort to recognize National First-Generation College Day,” said Congressman Tony Gonzales.
The Higher Education Act of 1965 focused on increasing postsecondary access and success for students particularly low-income and first-generation students. The law permitted the creation of the Federal TRIO Programs, implemented to award funds to provide opportunities for academic developments.
The Federal TRIO Programs (“TRIO”) are a set of educational opportunity programs that enable students from low- income backgrounds to become the first members of their families to earn college degrees. Currently serving more than 800,000 students from middle school through adult education, TRIO provides academic tutoring, personal counseling, mentoring, financial guidance, and other supports necessary to promote college access, retention, and graduation. Since its inception, TRIO has helped more than 5 million Americans earn college degrees.
See here and below for the text of the resolution:
Whereas a “first-generation college student” means an individual whose parents did not complete a baccalaureate degree, or in the case of any individual who regularly resided with and received support from only 1 parent, an individual whose parent did not complete a baccalaureate degree;
Whereas November 8 honors the anniversary of the signing of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001 et seq.) by President Lyndon B. Johnson on November 8, 1965;
Whereas the Higher Education Act of 1965 was focused on increasing postsecondary education access and success for students, particularly low-income and first-generation college students;
Whereas the Higher Education Act of 1965 helped usher in programs necessary for low-income, first-generation college students to access, remain in, and complete postsecondary education, including the Federal TRIO programs under chapter 1 of subpart 2 of part A of title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1070a–11 et seq.) and the Federal Pell Grant program under section 401 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1070a);
Whereas the Federal TRIO programs are the primary national effort supporting underrepresented students in postsecondary education and are designed to identify individuals from low-income backgrounds that would be first-generation college students and prepare them for postsecondary education, provide them support services, and motivate and prepare them for doctoral programs;
Whereas the Federal Pell Grant program under section 401 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1070a) is the primary Federal investment in financial aid for low-income college students and is used by students at institutions of higher education of their choice;
Whereas first-generation college students may face additional academic, financial, and social challenges that their peers do not face in pursuing higher education;
Whereas 56 percent of all current college students currently pursuing degrees are first-generation college students;
Whereas the Council for Opportunity in Education and the Center for First-generation Student Success jointly launched the inaugural First-Generation College Celebration in 2017; and
Whereas the First-Generation College Celebration has continued to grow, and institutions of higher education, corporations, nonprofit organizations, and elementary and secondary schools now celebrate November 8 as “First-Generation College Celebration Day”: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate—
- expresses support for the designation of November 8, 2023, as “National First-Generation College Celebration Day”; and
- urges all people of the United States to—
- celebrate “National First-Generation College Celebration Day” throughout the United States;
- recognize the important role that first-generation college students play in helping to develop the future workforce; and
- celebrate the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001 et seq.) and its programs that help underrepresented students access higher education.