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Resources for First-Generation college students

Preparing for college is an exciting time, full of anticipation. For some, it can also be a time of anxiety.  Especially for those first-generation trailblazers that may not have anyone in their family who has been through the process to help guide them. Don’t worry. There are resources available just for you.

The Whos-Who of Navigating College

You may know that if you have any questions about scholarships and student loans, the Financial Aid Office is going to be your best friend.  They know all the ins and outs about filling out your FAFSA (which you need to do every year), how to find additional scholarships, and even what it might be like to have student loans.  When it’s time to pay your bills or set up a payment plan, you will need to stop by the business office.

Housing and Residence life is your go-to experts for questions about your meal plan options, information about move-in and move-out, all things campus life, and student activities.  Check out on-campus living FAQs.  Be sure to talk to the housing office if you are interested in living on-campus, which is a great option, even if you live close by!

When you apply to be a student at Ellsworth or Marshalltown, you will get your very own Admissions Advisor.  They will be there with you from your campus visit all the way to helping you register for classes.  Your Admissions Advisor will be able to answer questions about what classes will meet your degree requirements, which residence hall you should live in, and where everything is located on campus.

Support for First-Generation College Students

First-generation college students are also eligible for TRIO Student Support Services, a set of federally funded programs at both Marshalltown and Ellsworth, designed to ensure equal opportunities for students, including those students who are the first to attend college in their family.  This program’s main goal is to help students succeed at a community college, and after graduation continue their education at a 4-year school through a little extra guidance on their college journey.

TRIO SSS participants get to participate in topic-specific workshops like financial planning and career prep.  Participants receive one-on-one advising with TRIO SSS staff to get help with scheduling classes, and even get early bird class registration, so you’re more likely to get your top choice of class and professor.  TRIO SSS offers help when transferring to a 4-year school, including sponsored trips to Iowa, UNI, and Iowa State.  Students taking advantage of the TRIO SSS program may even be eligible for additional grant aid!

How to Apply for TRIO SSS

Students who are interested in TRIO Student Support Services will need to fill out an application.  Marshalltown’s TRIO SSS Applications can be returned to Nate Chua or Mandy FoxEllsworth’s TRIO SSS Applications can be returned to Molly Hippen.  You also can stop by Room 111 at Marshalltown or in the Hub in Kruse Main at Ellsworth.

At Iowa Valley, we are here to help all students succeed, and we provide special resources for first-generation college students. Looking for additional tools to add to your academic toolbox? Reach out to your academic advisor!

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