Students taking classes at 401 Penn Street

University featured in 2022 I’m First! Guide to College


Alvernia University has been recognized in education nonprofit Strive for College’s 2022 I’m First! Guide to College, a comprehensive college guidebook designed to help low-income, first generation students make college a reality.


“Alvernia is committed to offering a variety of programs and services to help all our students achieve their goals, and we are proud to be profiled in the 2022 I’m First! Guide to College,” said Alvernia University President John R. Loyack. “We have a long tradition of providing educational opportunities for first-generation students and it’s important for prospective students and their families to know this information when choosing which college is the right fit for them.”


21% of the new students who enrolled during the fall 2021 semester identified as first-generation students. Recognized for its financial aid initiatives, including merit scholarships and microscholarships, as well as its student life and academic support services, Alvernia works to not only ensure first generation college students can begin their college career, but also to improve student success, retention, and graduation rates. Programs such as the Title III task force and Academic Success Center provide individualized support to students and encourage their connection with a variety of campus resources. 


“Alvernia’s dedication to inclusivity and diversity represent our commitment to the educational aspirations of all our students,” said Senior Vice President and Provost Dr. Glynis Fitzgerald. “We are honored to receive this recognition from Strive for College, as it reflects the achievements and passion of our first-generation students.”


As a Franciscan institution founded by the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters who immigrated to central Pennsylvania to educate the children of mine workers, Alvernia University has always been an educational pillar for first-generation and low-income students. Their mission continues today through the university’s various initiatives, including the Reading Collegiate Scholars Program, which provides academic mentoring and scholarships to students in the Reading School District and was established in 2014 to increase high school graduation and college attendance rates in Reading.


Featuring 167 colleges and universities highlighted for their outreach efforts, financial aid, and support services, the I’m First! Guide to College contains valuable information for parents and mentors, including an interactive college planning curriculum for students, teachers, and counselors. It’s well-known that students who are the first in their family to pursue higher education or come from a low-income household are and continue to be severely underrepresented on college campuses, despite having high educational aspirations. Alvernia, however, is dedicated to changing this trend.


To learn more about and purchase I’m First! Guide to College, click here.



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