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First Generation Students & Families

Being the first* in your family to attend college is something to be very proud of. CU Denver is committed to serving first generation students and their families, who often face unique challenges and great accomplishments.

* CU Denver defines first generation college students as those whose parents do not have a four-year college degree.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


 Resources & Advice


 Campus Resources

Center for Identity & Inclusion​

The University of Colorado Denver Center for Identity and Inclusion (CII) office provides services:

  • to support underrepresented students, and
  • to promote a diverse and inclusive campus for all students, faculty, and staff.​

TRiO Student Support Services helps first generation, low-income students and students with disabilities reach their full potential and achieve academic success. Student success is at the center of everything we do in our program.​​​​​​​


 Advice from First Generation CU Denver Staff and Faculty

"It is very common to have the desire to quit school especially in your first semester at any institution. If you feel this way, reach out to a trusted professor. What you are feeling is normal. What you are feeling will pass. What you are doing matters so stick with it!" - Callie Rennison, Ph.D. Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs, Associate Professor, and MCJ Program Director

"As a first-generation college student, I didn’t know about all the resources and programs on campus available to students, like Study Abroad opportunities. If I could do it over, I would take better advantage of opportunities like that and complete some study abroad experiences along with seeking out internships and research opportunities. My advice to first-generation students is to take advantage of as many opportunities for out of the classroom experiences as you can get along with doing your very best in all your classes." - Teresa De Herrera, Director TRiO Student Support Services

"If or when students hit a rough academic patch and debilitating doubt starts to creep in, I like to tell students they are capable of doing college level work and that they were admitted here based on that ability and promise. I let them know that a tough semester (or two, sometimes more) does not and should not define their college experience." - Nimol Hen, Director Academic Success and Advising Center

"The only thing I can say that works for me is to truly learn the difference between advice from others and your own inner wisdom and to keep a balance between what your heart feels and your mind says. For me, most of the mistakes I’ve made in life came from listening to what others thought while ignoring what my heart felt. If I close my eyes at the end of the day knowing I’ve done the best I can balancing the world’s thoughts of what I “should” do with my heart’s feeling of what I know is best, then I usually rest well. Aside from that, I always remind myself that nothing lasts, nothing is finished and nothing is perfect." - Paul Rakowski, Director of Learning Resources Center

"For me, having someone in your corner of the ring is of paramount importance. Someone who can push you, help you make sense of things, help clean your wounds and coach you on your moves." - Christopher Hudak, CU Denver Executive MPA Candidate​​​​​​​​


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Loving Lynx Emergency Fund


Parent & Family Fund​


Parent and Family Program · Phone: (303) 315-0491 · Email:​​


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