First Generation Scholarship Program

You Can Make Dreams a Reality

First Generation Scholarship Program


The FIU First Generation Scholarship Program is supported by an innovative matching grant program established in 2006 by the Florida Legislature. The program provides financial support to qualified undergraduate FIU students who are the first generation in their families to attain a college degree. This program is the only one of its kind in the state of Florida to match private donations for first generation scholarships 100 percent, providing financial assistance for students to attend a state university or Florida college. At the heart of this innovative scholarship program are the dreams of first generation students who aspire to reap the benefits of an FIU degree.


To date, FIU has awarded critical financial support to nearly 10,000 FIU students. The need, however, is far greater than available resources – currently, less than one in seven eligible students receives a First Generation Scholarship. As a result, many talented and highly motivated students with limited resources are forced to attend only part time or postpone their education altogether. Leveraged by state matching funds, gifts to the First Generation Scholarship Program address a critical need by facilitating access to higher education and enhance FIU’s reputation as a beacon of hope. The state match provides an exceptional opportunity to maximize the impact of your gift. Become a DreamMaker today and enrich the future of our first generation students!


Fast Facts


As Miami’s first and only four-year public research university, FIU has provided an exceptional environment for academic pursuits in this community since opening for classes in 1972. Today, FIU has distinguished itself as one of the nation’s most diverse institutions in higher education with more than 55,000 students and 215,000 alumni – one of the 10 largest public research universities in the nation. In addition, FIU is ranked No. 7 among the top U.S. universities founded in the last 50 years and one of the top 100 universities in the world founded in the last 50 years, according to Times Higher Education magazine. The university takes pride in our ability to create and foster an academic setting for student success that addresses the unique needs of first generation scholars.
Approximately 84% of FIU undergraduate students are minorities and more than 53% are first generation college students. FIU is also ranked first in the nation in awarding bachelor’s and master’s degrees to Hispanic students. In addition to its diverse ethnic groups, FIU serves a large percentage of economically disadvantaged students. Ninety-one percent of First-Time-in-College students depend on financial aid (Source:  IPEDS 2014-2015 Survey) and nearly 56% of all FIU’s financial aid recipients come from families with annual household incomes less than $30,000.


53% of undergrad students are first generation college students

93% of First Generation Scholarship recipients are minorities

Generous investments in the First Generation Scholarship Program will address the need to increase support for first generation students, empowering scholarship recipients to realize their academic and professional dreams. In 2014-2015, 1,135 of FIU’s 8,597 eligible students received First Generation Scholarships – merely 13.2% of potential recipients. These students represent hope for their families and lasting change for our community and nation.
Embracing the diversity of the region, and given the fact that 93% of First Generation Scholarship recipients are minorities; support for the program is a unique opportunity to effect transformational change in the lives of the region’s underserved, multicultural students. The institution is dedicated to providing first generation students the financial and academic support needed to enroll, succeed and graduate. In 2014-2015, recipients reflected the vibrant diversity of South Florida: 71% Hispanic, 17% Black, 5% White, 2% Asian, 3% Other.



Designed to bring a university education within reach, the First Generation Matching Grant Program provides financial aid to qualified undergraduate students at Florida’s state universities. Through the generosity of donors and matching dollars from the state of Florida, First Generation Scholarships are awarded to FIU students who meet the following criteria:

  • First generation in family to attain a college degree (neither of the student’s parents earned a college degree at the baccalaureate level or higher; students whose siblings have attained or are pursuing a degree are eligible).
  • Qualify as a Florida resident for tuition purposes.
  • Enrolled for a minimum of six credit hours per term as a degree-seeking undergraduate student.
  • Demonstrate financial need by completing the national Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and be eligible for a Pell Grant.
  • Scholarship awards are for fall and spring semesters only and must be awarded the academic same year that the state matching funds are received.
  • The scholarship will be administered consistently with standard university procedures.
  • Donations must be received by June 30th in order to be matched and awarded to the student in the Fall (for Fall and Spring semesters) of the same academic year. If received after this date, funds will be matched and awarded the following academic year.

FIU has the second highest percentage (51%) of fall undergraduate enrollment with a Pell Grant in the State University System of Florida in 2013. In other words, 51% of FIU’s fall undergraduates received a Pell Grant in 2013 – the second highest percentage in the State University System of Florida.



*To apply for a First Generation Scholarship, candidates must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA); following completion of the FASFA, scholarship awards will be allocated by the FIU Financial Aid Office, based on the criteria listed above.


For more information, please contact Joan Casanova Gonzalez, Development Officer, First Generation Scholarship Program at 305-348-3583 or

For questions regarding scholarship awards or financial aid, please contact the FIU Financial Aid Office at 305-348-7272.