Thank You for Empowering First-Generation World-Changers

Generous donors make UT a place where every student can succeed. Read Grace’s story.
First Gen Students Gathered Together Wearing Orange and Each Making the Longhorn Gesture

Being a university of the first class means different things to different people. But for a first-generation college graduate like Grace Farley, BSW/B.A. ’22, being a university of the first class means being a place where every student can complete a world-class education — even if no one else in your family went to college.

That was Grace’s story when she started thinking about life after high school, but she didn’t let that slow her down. Nor did she let it impact her when her guidance counselor told her, “If you can’t afford to go to college, maybe you aren’t ready.”

Grace knew she was ready, and while she was nervous about the thought of moving to a new city and leaving behind her close-knit family in Keller, she leaned on school social workers and teachers to help her apply to The University of Texas at Austin. Grace ended up receiving financial assistance through eight different scholarships, including the Social Work Endowed Presidential Scholarship. Once she stepped foot on the Forty Acres, Grace was determined to be someone others could turn to for support to succeed in college.

A Plan II Honors Program student, Grace got involved in numerous organizations like the UT Senate of College Councils, the UT Counseling and Mental Health Center Student Advisory Committee, and the Plan II Honors First-Gen Task Force. She also led the inaugural First-Generation Student Living Learning Community, giving workshops on life skills, career exploration and more to her fellow first-generation Longhorn peers. For her efforts, Grace earned a Texas Exes President’s Leadership Award. She also received the Archer Fellowship as a junior, which made a study-away experience in Washington, D.C. possible.

First Gen Students Grace Callout
“I promised myself that I will be the last, first-generation college student in my family. I am passionate about social work because I am so grateful for all of the people who helped me be where I am today. I can’t wait to use all I learned at UT to start giving back to others.”

—Grace Farley, BSW/B.A. Plan II Honors Program ’22

“I promised myself that I will be the last, first-generation college student in my family. I am passionate about social work because I am so grateful for all of the people who helped me be where I am today. I can’t wait to use all I learned at UT to start giving back to others.”

—Grace Farley, BSW/B.A. Plan II Honors Program ’22

First Gen Students Grace Callout

“I’m so grateful for the financial support I received,” says Grace. “Pursuing internships and doing an honors thesis and getting involved in leadership organizations takes so much time. Without financial support, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

This past May, 23% of the students who graduated from UT were first-generation college students like Grace who benefitted from the scholarships and support programs donors like you help make possible. In fact, thanks to the generosity of Longhorn Nation, UT has been able to invest millions of dollars over the past 10 years to support first-generation students through wraparound services like dedicated orientation programming, academic advising, brand-new laptops and textbook credits, leadership development programs and support with internships, study-away opportunities and career readiness.

This focus on first-gen students has led to a current enrollment of more than 9,000 undergraduate first-generation students. The four-year graduation rate for first-gen undergraduate students rose from 40.9% in 2012 to 66.52% in 2022.

Being a place where every student can succeed, regardless of background, doesn’t just happen. It happens because financial support from friends like you funds scholarships and support programs that attract and keep a diverse student body.

The generosity of donors like you is empowering so many first-generation Longhorns like Grace Farley who are changing the world.

As she recently shared, “I promised myself that I will be the last, first-generation college student in my family. I am passionate about social work because I am so grateful for all of the people who helped me be where I am today. I can’t wait to use all I learned at UT to start giving back to others.”

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