First Generation Initiative

Established in 2010, the vision for the First Generation Initiative is to address the growing academic achievement gap in our state and country.  In order to support students first in their families to attend college, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota began a mission-inspired initiative to help ensure students who otherwise couldn’t dream of a college education – now can.

Based on research, both access and support ensure students served through the University’s Lasallian, Catholic network succeed both academically and beyond the classroom, thanks to the First Generation Initiative. The cost of a scholarship, including support services, for one year is approximately $46,000 per student.  There are currently 36 FGI Scholars at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. Additionally, through the establishment of an innovative Count Down to College academic boot camp, starting in 2010, Saint Mary’s has prepared over 100 high school students during the summers of their pre-collegiate academic years. This innovative program is preparing young students for success in high school as well as college.

Thanks to generous partners, the Initiative’s success has been realized by transformational philanthropy. In order to reach a funding goal of $15 Million by 2017, financially supporting student success remains a priority. The 2014-2015 financial need is to secure $300,000 by May 31st in order to provide gap funding necessary to support 36 current FGI Scholars.

First-Generation Scholars


Our Purpose – to ensure academic success for high-need, high-potential, first-generation students from our partner Lasallian and Jesuit schools from middle school through college graduation.

Our Vision – at his inaugural address, our president, Brother William announced his intention to serve economically challenged students:

I’ve instructed the Cabinet to explore the expansion of our efforts to make Saint Mary’s affordable to mid- and lower-economic families… I’d love to make it easier for graduates of the Miguel, Nativity, and Cristo Rey schools of our Region to enroll and succeed at Saint Mary’s.

This is why Saint John Baptist de La Salle founded the Brothers of the Christian Schools… We were founded upon the conviction that no young person and no family — no matter how economically, affectively, intellectually, or spiritually in need — should ever have cause to think that they have been forgotten, should ever have to wonder whether or not this family has been passed over by God, or by the rest of us.