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Johns Hopkins hosted a FLI Day celebration on Keyser Quad on Tuesday afternoon, a reflection of the university's continued and growing support for first-generation and/or limited-income students. The event recognized the university FLI community as a whole—students, alumni, faculty, staff, and allies—with art, activities, giveaways, and refreshments.
The celebration corresponded with National First-Generation College Student Day, recognized each year on Nov. 8, a date chosen to correspond with the anniversary of the signing of the Higher Education Act of 1965. Johns Hopkins hosted its first FLI Day celebration in 2019, and the tradition has rapidly taken root.
"FLI Day is a moment when the FLI community at Hopkins becomes happily visible to itself and the whole campus," said Kelly Barry, who leads the access and equity work on behalf of FLI students on the university's Homewood campus. "We want to invite everyone into what we know from our work with FLI students—it's a joy to be in their lives and humbling to learn from them."
Though first-generation, limited-income students have historically faced obstacles to accessing higher education, Hopkins has made support for FLI students a point of emphasis in recent years. FLI enrollment continues to increase, with FLI students representing 30.8% of the current first-year undergraduate class and 28.3% of the undergraduate student body as a whole.
Since receiving an historic $1.8 billion gift from Michael R. Bloomberg in support of undergraduate financial aid in 2018, the university has announced that it established need-blind and no-loan admissions and also ended legacy preferences in admissions, providing increased access to a Hopkins education.
The Bloomberg gift also led to the launch of the FLI Initiatives, anchored within the Center for Student Success. These initiatives offer numerous support services for FLI students, including the Success Coaching Program in Academic Advising, or SCAA, and other programs and advocacy efforts. The Daniels-Rosen First Generation Scholars Fund, an endowment established by JHU President Ron Daniels and his wife, faculty member Joanne Rosen, provides full financial support to four first-generation undergraduates each year.
Additionally, offices across campus have partnered to address other funding gaps that students can face, for example by expanding summer grants for unpaid or underpaid summer internships and research experiences.