For the second year in a row, the First-Generation, Limited-Income (FLI) Network will cover the cost of graduation regalia, which includes a cap and a gown, for first-generation and/or limited-income students graduating in May. The network will also provide students with a stole, designed by FLI student leaders, at the FLI Graduation Celebration.
The network is an organization of FLI students, faculty, staff, alumni and allies with a mission to cultivate belonging and inclusion to promote student success.
In an email to The News-Letter, Director of Special Projects for FLI Initiatives Hanna Jackson explained the inspiration behind the decision to fund graduation costs for seniors in FLI.
“Given the challenges posed by COVID, we wanted one less thing for our FLI students to worry about as they prepare for graduation,” she wrote.
In an interview with The News-Letter, senior Saisri Gussenhoven expressed her appreciation for the FLI Network.
“It’s a lovely final way to represent being part of the community,” she said. “As a first-generation student, graduating is so huge to me and my parents, and having such support from the FLI community when I walk is incredibly meaningful.”
Last month, the University was recognized by the Center for First-Generation Student Success as a First-Gen Forward Institution. As part of this recognition, the University will have access to professional development through the Center for First-Generation Student Success and share resources with the other universities in the cohort of First-Gen Forward Institutions.
Senior Harold Treminio highlighted that graduation costs are an additional stress for many FLI students in an interview with The News-Letter.
“I am someone who plans their finances strictly and, honestly, could not find a place to fit graduation costs, and I know a lot of FLI students are in the same boat,” he said. “Graduation is supposed to be an event of celebration and relief, and the FLI Network gave us one step closer to that by taking one more final obstacle off our load.”
The funding for the regalia and stoles comes from FLI Initiatives, including donations to the network.
Jackson explained the meaning behind the FLI Student Graduation Celebration.
“FLI Student Graduation Celebration honors our FLI graduating seniors and all of their wonderful accomplishments in the community,” she wrote.