First Cats

First Cats

First Cats Sign

Direct Support to First-Generation College Students

First Cats offers direct support from peers and professional staff for first-generation college students. 

More than 10,000 UA students are First-Generation College students and are part of a large, diverse and strong community on the UA Campus.  The University of Arizona First Cats was created to motivate and support students to attain a bachelor’s degree and prepare for the next step after college.   

Who is a First-Generation College Student? 

  • A student who comes from a home where neither parent/legal guardian has completed a four-year bachelor’s degree; 

  • A student whose parent(s)/legal guardian(s) completed a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in a country outside of the United States; 

  • A student who has separated or divorced parents and the parent with primary custody, or with whom the student lives with a majority of the time, does not have a bachelor’s degree; 

  • A student who was/is a homeless youth, in the foster care system, or a ward of the state. 


You won't be able to spot a First-Generation College student, unless they are wearing one of the very cool First Cats pins (you can have one too).  First-gen students come from a vast array of backgrounds, and bring yet another layer of diversity to the campus population. 

You have the opportunity to be the FIRST person in your family to graduate from college, and that is amazing!  You can create a different path for you and your family. 

Being the first person in your family to go to college is great, and can be stressful.  The university is a large place, and it is a sign of strength to ask for help navigating the UA!  

There are many staff and faculty that were also First-Generation College Students and even more that support first-gen students.  Some staff and faculty will have a small sign in their office space saying they were first-gen, or there could be a symbol on your syllabi symbolizing that the instructor was first-gen.