First-in-Family Programs

First-in-Family Programs

Columbia College and Columbia Engineering are proud to have approximately 1,000 undergraduates who are the first in their families to attend college. First-in-Family (FiF) Programs encourages the success of every first-generation college student at Columbia via year-long academic support, professional development, and cultural enrichment opportunities.

What does it mean to be First-in-Family?  First-in-Family is by definition a secondary identity. First-in-Family’s first-generation college students hail from every corner of the socioeconomic spectrum, every racial/ethnic background, and every area of study.  For our program, “first-generation college student” is identified as a student whose parent(s)/guardian(s) have not received a four-year U.S. bachelor’s degree or completed a four-year U.S. bachelor’s degree later in life. 

First-in-Family Programming  The First-in-Family philosophy is "students don't know what they don't know."  First-in-Family Programs introduces students to the possibilities available to them during and after their Columbia education.

  • Academic Support: First-in-Family Programs, in collaboration with several partner offices, offers academic support including free tutoring and a robust schedule of academic seminars and workshops.  For more information, please click the events tab (in the left hand column) or by visiting the Academic Resources page. 
  • Professional Development: First-in-Family Programs hosts “Career Outings” offering first-generation college students the opportunity to visit employers throughout New York City.  From structural engineering to social entrepreneurship, First-in-Family students gain access to a wide network of industry leaders while going behind-the-scenes on worksites to learn the ins and outs of various fields.
  • Cultural Enrichment: First-in-Family Programs believes arts and culture comprise a meaningful part of every college student’s education.  Through partnerships with leading arts and performance venues, First-in-Family Programs offers complimentary tickets to theater, museums, and the performing arts throughout the academic year.

Contact Us

First-in-Family Programs may be reached via email at; programming is announced weekly through the First-in-Family listserv.  Students are also encouraged to contact any advising dean from the First-in-Family unit to learn more about First-in-Family resources.    

Alex España
Associate Dean
Darius V. Echeverría, PhD
Advising Dean
Elizabeth Albes
Advising Dean
Meghan Cote
Advising Dean

First-in-Family Programs

403 Alfred Lerner Hall
2920 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

Call: (212) 854-6378

Office Hours
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Walk-in Hours (Sept - May)
Please contact your Advising Dean