Colorado State University Among the Best for First-Generation Students

Note to Reporters: Videos of four Colorado State University first-generation students are available with the news release at

“The Best Colleges” recently featured Colorado State University among the best in the nation for first-generation college students.

Recognized as ahead of its peers, Colorado State began offering assistance to first-generation students in 1984 when it created the First Generation Award. The award program, which is only available to eligible students who are the first in their family to attend college, was created to encourage high school students and incoming transfer students to further their education. The First Generation Award program also sought to promote diversity within the university.

“By being attentive to the needs of first-generation students, we are able to provide access and opportunities to students who, through their successful participation in higher education, can become valuable contributors in their chosen professions and can positively influence the lives of other family members,” said Mary Ontiveros, vice president for Diversity at Colorado State. “We believe that first-generation faculty members are familiar with the academic journey of first-generation students and also can also help to impact their retention.”

Colorado State has more than 5,500 first generation students enrolled this spring.

“CSU continues to develop a ‘village approach’ to serving the unique needs of these educational pioneers by engaging faculty and staff allies in supporting first-gen students,” said Barb Musslewhite, First Generation Award committee chair.

Four upper division students recently were recognized as Jackson Distinguished First Generation Scholars after receiving the First Generation Award at CSU. Videos about Royce Quintana, Kevin Fleming, Brianna Whitaker and Samantha Borrego can be found on CSU’s YouTube page.

“The Best Colleges” ranks accredited colleges based on affordability, tuition, retention rate and starting salary for graduates. Other institutions featured include Cornell University, Trinity University, Yale University, Texas Tech University and California State University San Marcos.