First Generation Students

Counselors at Student Financial Services help find success, not stress

As grant-based aid packages—bolstered by named scholarships—have helped Penn welcome more students who come from lower-income households, Student Financial Services (SFS) has ramped up its ability to assist their academic journeys, especially during the pandemic when students needed more support than ever. That includes having two counselors—Silvia Hanks and Jodi Wagner—who specialize in serving highly aided students at Penn.

Penn Today Staff

COVID communications and first generation students

Marcus Wright, undergraduate program manager and academic coordinator in the Department of Sociology and doctoral student at the Graduate School of Education, analyzes academic messaging to expose blind spots.

From OMNIA

A Move-In like no other

Penn undergraduates start arriving on campus to move into College Houses during an extended eight-day period in keeping with pandemic health and safety protocols.

Louisa Shepard



Media Contact


In the News


Philadelphia Inquirer

Penn student who aged out of foster care wins prestigious Rhodes Scholarship

May graduate Mackenzie Fierceton has been named a Rhodes Scholar, which will allow her to study at Oxford University in England.

FULL STORY →



The Washington Post

Bloomberg gift to Hopkins to help middle-income families as well as the poor

Vice President of Finance and Treasurer MaryFrances McCourt spoke about Penn’s endowment for undergraduate financial aid and its support for low-income students.

FULL STORY →



CBS News

Bay Area 1st generation college student’s background helping him excel

School of Arts and Sciences senior Victor Arellano was profiled for his summer interning with Motive Power, a San Francisco management consulting firm.

FULL STORY →



Diverse: Issues in Higher Education

UPenn provides support services for first-generation and low-income students

Admissions Dean Eric J. Furda and Valarie Swain-Cade McCoullum, vice provost for university life, discussed Penn’s support system for first-generation and low-income students.

FULL STORY →



“Good Morning America,” ABC News

Student debt crisis: This 28-year-old mom is ‘drowning’ in $80,000 of debt

Penn’s loan-free, grant-based financial aid program was highlighted in a discussion of the burden of student debt. President Amy Gutmann was cited as a first-generation college graduate.

FULL STORY →



Christian Science Monitor

Ivy Degree – Now What? Low-Income Grads Struggle with Careers, Status

Low-income first-generation college students met at Penn in February for the fourth annual 1vyG conference, where President Amy Gutmann welcomed the scholars.

FULL STORY →