First-in-Family Fund – Legacy, Inspiration and Future

Honoring the legacy of Rhode Island College, the inspiration exemplified by his parents and the promise of future first-generation students who will walk RIC’s halls, RIC President Frank D. Sánchez has established the First-in-Family Fund. This fund will support the enrollment of freshmen students who are the first in their families to attend college, who have graduated from a Rhode Island high school and who have achieved a grade point average of 3.5 or better.

To achieve economic mobility, as well as economic and social independence, a college degree is essential. Since its founding in 1854, Rhode Island College has hosted thousands of first-generation college students, significantly contributing to the economic vitality of the state. In academic year 2016-17 alone, over 43 percent of RIC’s freshmen class of 1,700 students identified as the first in their families to attend college. Furthermore, 49 percent were Pell recipients, indicating the challenges associated with college attendance with modest incomes.  

Sánchez is the son of parents who deeply value education and, despite significant financial hardship, both achieved a college degree. His father, Gil, earned two master’s degrees and his mother, Alice, attained an associate’s degree in an era when few diverse students thrived in the Rocky Mountain region. Their four children subsequently achieved four-year college degrees and three went on to earn advanced degrees. Sánchez credits his success in higher education to the example set by both of his parents and hopes the First-in-Family Fund will afford other Rhode Island students, and the generations after them, that same opportunity.

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