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First-Generation College Support

In 2023, LitNet began to commit to delve deeper into our mission of “transforming lives.” We continue to serve newly arrived Berkshire County immigrants, as well as those who may have been here for some time, interested in learning or bettering their English language skills. Recently, however, we became more cognizant that some of our learners had been here for many years and now had children who were approaching adulthood and were uncertain about the opportunities that lay ahead for them.

Meet Deisy
Meet Deisy

LitNet’s First-Generation College Coordinator

Having graduated from high school in 2023, Deisy possesses firsthand experience with the path to college as a first-generation student. Experienced in the application process, the obstacles, and where she could have used extra support, Deisy set about to create and deliver workshops for first-generation college hopefuls and their families to help smooth their experience.

Since late fall 2023, Deisy came on board at LitNet to serve as LitNet’s First-Generation College Coordinator, sharing her knowledge of the community’s needs and working in partnership with the LitNet Education Team and the LitNet First-Generation College Liaison Committee. She formed the LitNet First-Generation Council, made up of peers who are also first-generation college students or high school seniors on their path to college, to plan for relevant workshops and support. 

LitNet’s First-Gen College Liaison Committee
LitNet’s First-Gen College Liaison Committee – Sandra, Deisy, Domenica
Some of LitNet’s First-Gen Council members
Some of LitNet’s First-Gen Council members

LitNet’s definition of what it means to be first-generation:

While the federal definition of a “first-generation college student” means a person whose parents did not complete a baccalaureate degree, many schools have their own definitions. Some institutions reserve resources to serve both first-generation with low-income students and commonly use the acronym FGLI. LitNet takes a wide-ranging definition of who we are serving when we talk about the First-Generation College Project. We aim to serve students (and their family members) who do not have the benefit of an in-family role model with first-hand experience of the U.S. higher education system and/or students who do not have the resources of other students. This could mean: 

  • Students whose parents are immigrants, even if those parents have college degrees in their home country
  • U.S.-born students whose parents did not attend or complete college 
  • Students who speak a language other than English at home
  • Low-income students
  • Anyone who needs a detailed introduction and breakdown of the U.S. higher education system beyond what is traditionally offered.


We offer the following programs and support for first-generation college hopefuls and their families. Please reach out if you need support in any of these areas or if you wish to request a workshop for your school or community:

  • Bilingual FAFSA/MASFA workshops
  • First-Generation Council meet-ups for local high school students who are interested in learning more about the path to college
  • College essay tutoring and support.

First-generation programs that are currently in the works:

The Path to College (bilingual family workshop) will focus on:

  • An overview of types of colleges (community, state, public, private)
  • An overview on types of degrees (Associate, Bachelor, Master, Doctorate)
  • A student panel of current first-generation college students sharing about their path
  • Information on financing college, scholarships, grants, work-study, etc.
  • A parent panel made up of immigrant parents sharing their advice and experience with the path to college.

Funding the Future (a bilingual workshop for immigrant parents with young children)

  • An overview of the path to college (focus on timelines, early involvement, extracurriculars, planning)
  • An overview of funding college and how to start early.

To inquire about support in any of the areas above, or to request a workshop presentation in your school or community, contact Deisy at [email protected].

Related Resources

Berkshire Taconic Community Foundationhttps://berkshiretaconic.org/grants-scholarships
Center for First Generation Student Successhttps://firstgen.naspa.org/
Chang-Chavkin Scholars Programhttps://changchavkinscholars.org/massachussets/
La Unidad Latina Foundationhttps://www.lulf.org/scholarships.html