First-Generation and Low-Income College Student Support at Wheaton


Approximately 20% of Wheaton students are the first in their families to attend college or come from low-income backgrounds…
… and we’re proud of that! First-gen and low-income students are a strong, independent, and self-reliant community and we believe it’s important to recognize their achievements! Wheaton holds a first-gen student awareness week annually to recognize, support and celebrate this identity with events and programming.

Wheaton dedicates staff and resources to support first-gen students with their individual needs one-on-one…
The Office for Institutional Equity and Belonging and Center for Social Justice and Community Impact works with Student and Academic Affairs to develop programming for first-gen students every semester. Additionally, a dedicated AmeriCorps Member  currently works to develop long-term support structures for first-gen or low-income students to ensure their success at Wheaton.

The Focus on First-Gen program provides events and programs to build the first-gen community and connect students to resources…
In addition to one-on-­one academic support and advising, first-gen ­centered student programming such as networking events, movie viewings, dinners, alumni panels, and performances are all available for students to take advantage of. Additionally, a first-gen early arrival session, Brave, Bold & First, is held in August prior to that start of the academic year to provide students an opportunity to acclimate to campus, develop connections with peers and meet campus resources.

The Marjorie Judith McNamara Bland’ 62 Emergency Discretionary Endowed Fund
The college understands that not being able to afford some of the costs associated with higher education can cause significant stress and uncertainty, which impacts students’ academic success and personal well-being. The Judy Bland Emergency Fund is intended to cover temporary or unexpected costs and is not a replacement for financial aid. Students can apply at any time. The fund is named for Wheaton alumna M. Judith McNamara Bland ’62 who has been a long-time contributor to an emergency fund for students facing unexpected expenses.