NewsUplifting Arizona


ASU helping first-generation college students

Posted at 8:24 PM, Dec 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-01 22:24:56-05

TEMPE, AZ — A federally funded program at Arizona State University is helping low-income, first-generation college students get into school and succeed. 

TRIO and Student Support Services have several different programs connecting students with resources like tutoring and financial aid.

"My parents didn't go to college, they're more like -- if you need anything, we'll try out best to help you, but FAFSA, we don't know what that is," said Edgar Ortega, a student at ASU. 

Ortega told ABC15 that it's hard navigating the application process since he was the first in his family to go to college.


"It's hard being the only child," he added.

Dr. Sharon Smith is the deputy vice president and dean of students. She told ABC15 she's passionate about giving kids access to education. 

"Access is a very important part of our mission -- and so with that, we recognize that every student deserves an opportunity to get a college education," she said.

According to Smith, there is a growing need for their services. 

"We support students with academic preparation which includes tutoring, completing financial aid forms with their college applications, again, all in the hopes of removing any barriers a student may have," Smith said.

According to the Arizona Board of Regents, fewer Arizona high school students are applying for college. However, the number of Black and Hispanic students going to four-year schools is increasing.

Student Support Services also helps veterans get an education.

"I knew I wanted to go to school. I just didn't know how I was going to do it," said Elizabeth Preayer, a Marine Corps veteran.

Preayer said she is a first-generation college student and was able to get free tutoring thanks to TRIO and their Upward Bound Veterans program.

For more information about the services or to connect with SSS, visit their website here.