Center for Student Success

First-Generation and Income-Eligible Students

Starting college is exciting, but it can also be a time of great anxiety and doubt, too - especially if you're the first in your family to go to college. Don't worry though - you're not alone. Oberlin has a great community of first-generation and income-eligible (Pell-eligible) students, staff and faculty on campus - and they're all willing to help you succeed!

The Center for Student Success (CSS) offers support services for all currently-enrolled Oberlin students, with a special focus on helping first-generation and income-eligible (FGIE) students thrive. CSS provides FGIE students with a variety of programs that introduce and uncover the hidden collegiate curriculum, explore and explain campus and community resources, empower students to design their ideal collegiate experience, and build community on campus.


I’m First

“No matter where you come from or how much money your family has, I want you to know that you can succeed in college, and get your degree, and then go on to build an incredible life for yourself. That’s been my life story, and my husband’s as well. And if you’re willing to put in the time and the effort, I want you to know that it can be your story too.”

—First Lady Michelle Obama

Watch Mrs. Obama’s “I’m First” Story

The staff at the Center for Student Success (CSS) is here to support you through your collegiate journey. CSS will work alongside you to build your own library of campus resources and connections that will help you succeed personally, socially, and academically at Oberlin College.

Cuurently,  CSS offers these support services for first-generation and income-eligible students: 

  • The Peer Mentor program: CSS Peer Mentors are returning first-generation or income-eligible students who will share their campus knowledge and resources with you in an effort to make your transition to college life that much easier.
  • The Brenda Grier-Miller (BGM) Scholars program: An incoming cohort of first-generation and income-eligible students who move through their first semester of college together in order to build community and offer support to each other. 
  • F1RST Fridays: CSS dedicates the first Friday of every month to programming for FGIE student support. Led by the Peer Mentors, F1RST Fridays explore campus recources, offer FGIE community connection, and create space for conversation around the unique challenges that first-generation and income-eligible students often face.
  • The CSS Loaner Library: A collection of textbooks, novels, and other course materials available only to first-generation and income-eligible students in order to help offset the costs associated with college. Eligible students can email for more information. 
  • First Generation Week (FGW): An expansion of the college's First Generation College Celebration Day each November, FGW honors the various paths and identities of our F1RST at Oberlin community and provides community-building activities designed to create awareness of the challenges first-generation students often face.
  • ObieXing (in Price Hall): ObieXing is a designated safe space for first-generation and income-eligible students to gather, share ideas, mingle, hold meetings, and build community. It's also a great place to hold events like movie nights or rainy day board game marathons. FGIE students can reserve the space for programming through CSS.


Were you F1RST?

The Center for Student Success would like to honor and support the hard work and perseverance of first-generation and income-eligible Oberlin faculty, staff, and alumni too. Were you a F1RST in your family to graduate from college or a Pell-eligible student? Would you be willing to mentor a currently enrolled FGIE Obie?

If you would be willing to share your story with us, or would simply like to be a part of the FGIE community on campus, please fill out this form. You'll recieve notifications of upcoming events, get connected to the F1RST newsletter, and more!