FLI @ Columbia

First-Generation and/or Low Income at Columbia series

As a complement to the academic-related support and transition resources provided by First-in-Family Programs in the Center for Student Advising, Multicultural Affairs offers social and cultural support, resources, programming and advocacy for First-Generation and/or low income (FLI) college students on issues related to student life outside of the classroom. Additionally, the office offers opportunities for campus education and training on socio-economic class awareness and greater understanding of FLI college student experiences. 

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Programs and Events

In collaboration with campus partners and student organizations, this program series provides support for FLI college students on issues related to campus life, navigating the campus community, and experiences outside of the classroom. Additionally, it facilitates an educational platform for the campus community to better understand the experiences of low income students and first-gen students. Programs include peer ­facilitated dialogues, social and cultural events, and educational workshops. Past and current events include:

  • First-Generation and/or Low-Income Students and Allies Mixer (NSOP): part of the New Student Orientation Program, this casual gathering allows incoming students the opportunity to meet each other and learn about the campus resources available to them
  • FLI Friday Lunch Lounge: an intentional space for FLI students to decompress, connect and gather information from campus resources
  • Be the 1st Dinner: a dinner and celebration where students, faculty, and staff who identify as FLI build community and have intentional, intergenerational conversations about the FLI experience 
  • FLI Student Town Hall: facilitated by the FLI Student Advisory Board (FAB) in partnership with Multicultural Affairs and student organization, the FLI Town Hall is an annual space for Columbia College and Columbia Engineering students to discuss issues pertaining to the FLI community, amplify needs, and identify opportunities for advocacy 
  • Gen Week: in collaboration with the FLI Network student organization, this week in April features a series of events and a multimedia awareness campaign allowing students, faculty, and staff who identify as FLI to share their stories, be visible, and find a community among each other
  • FLI Graduation: this annual ceremony provides an intimate setting for family, friends, alumni, faculty, staff, and students to recognize the achievements and impact of our graduating FLI students
  • Professional development workshops for staff: training for student-facing administrators and faculty members on creating affirming environments for First-Generation and/or Low-Income (FLI) students. Participants learn about common challenges and barriers that can impact the student experience and review strategies for creating supportive classroom and administrative spaces that utilize a strengths-based approach.

Advocacy: FLI Student Advisory Board and FLI Resource Team

FLI Student Advisory Board (FAB) is part of the Multicultural Affairs Advisory Council (MAAC) under Multicultural Affairs. These undergraduate students in Columbia College and Columbia Engineering work towards a more respectful, accountable, and socially just campus environment by identifying campus issues and work closely and collaboratively with Multicultural Affairs and other campus partners in developing realistic and action-oriented solutions.

Like each MAAC student advisory board, FAB works with a corresponding administrative resource team spearheaded by Multicultural Affairs.  Informed by the work of FAB, the FLI Resource Team is a cross-functional working team responsible for identifying unique and/or specific issues facing first-generation and/or low income students. Each individual member of the team serves as a liaison, contributes to the conversation, and shares pertinent information back to their respective office.   Each team supports the development, planning and implementation of initiatives aimed at assisting their respective population of students in Columbia College and Columbia Engineering. FLI Resource Team membership consists of staff from Multicultural Affairs, Center for Student Advising, Counseling and Psychological Services, Undergraduate Admissions, Financial Aid & Educational Financing, Undergraduate Global Engagement, Center for Career Education, Student and Family Support, Alumni Affairs, Alice! Health Promotion and Sexual Violence Response. 

Organizational Advisement

Multicultural Affairs provides advising support – including leadership development, discussions on campus issues impacting the organizations, and event planning – for the following student groups:

  • First-Generation and/or Low-Income Network (FLI Network) is an recognized student group whose mission is to create safe spaces for students to discuss issues relevant to the first­-generation and low income community in order to combat stigmas, promote discussion of socioeconomic class and education access, and advocate for resources.
  • Columbia Quest Scholars Network (QSN) is a recognized student group with the mission to create a space and support system for all low-­income students attending Columbia. Through different events, initiatives, and other forms of programming, QSN hopes to create a dialogue for low­-income students that will enable students to have a better experience at Columbia. Though founded and supported by the national college access organization, QuestBridge, membership and program participation are open to all students.
  • IvyG Delegation Multicultural Affairs supports students organizing the Columbia delegation attending the annual 1vyG Conference. 1vyG strengthens and empowers the inter-­Ivy League first­-generation college student network by convening communities of students and administrators, sharing, and building best practices of support, and advocating for change.

Campus Resources

Columbia College and Columbia Engineering


Additional School-specific Resources


FLI Resource Guide. A Guide to Columbia's Campus Resource Designed for and by first-generation and/or low-income students.FLI Resource Guide. A Guide to Columbia's Campus Resource Designed for and by first-generation and/or low-income students.

Check out the FLI Resource Guide (2021-2022).pdf

Tips on navigating Financial Aid for FLI studentsFLI Tips Sheet: Navigating Financial Aid

View the FLI Tips Sheet: Navigating Financial Aid, '21-'22.pdf

Tips on finding affordable textbooks on campus and digitallyFLI Tips Sheet: Finding Affordable Books

View the FLI Tips Sheet: Finding Affordable Books, '21-'22.pdf

FLI Tips Sheet (Columbia & NYC on a Budget)Tips on navigating Columbia and NYC on a budget

See our FLI Tips Sheet: Columbia & NYC on a Budget, '21-'22.pdf 


Multicultural Affairs


Audre Lorde Community Space
505 Alfred Lerner Hall
2920 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

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Call: 212-854-0720

Office Hours
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.