Alliance for the Low-Income and First-Generation Narrative

Supporting first-generation and low-income (FGLI) students in higher education.

Introducing the AL1GN STEM Cohort!

After three years of global pandemic — and more than enough time to reflect on where we can have the best impact — we have decided to indefinitely discontinue our conferencing. Instead, we are currently running our first ever STEM cohort! Made of eight college juniors and seniors across six different schools across the U.S., our cohort is comprised of students with career interests varying from graduate school in astronomy and biology to IT and consulting. The goal of the cohort program is three-fold: 1) build a community of care in which student support comes from both peers and mentors, 2) build STEM identity among participants, and 3) support participants in their career goals, even after graduation and even if they decide to leave STEM.

Since summer 2022, our cohort activities so far have included:

  • Monthly virtual programming, including a November 2022 workshop by academic coaches from Stanford University’s Student Learning Programs on study and self-care strategies and a resume and cover letter co-writing session
  • Weekly stand-ups, in which participants and mentors report on the prior week’s progress on work (eg. homework, research, internship) and their plans for the upcoming week. On some weeks, we instead focus on what we are doing to self-regulate. The goal of the stand-ups is to provide an opt-in means for accountability and celebrating wins.
  • A Spring 2023 trip to NYC, generously funded by the Heising-Simons Foundation, to visit science institutions, universities, and industry spaces in order to meet working scientists and tech practitioners and current graduate students.

The research


Many Americans view higher education as an essential tool for success and social mobility in the U.S., but access to higher education remains limited, especially as costs continue to rise. When they do enroll, first-generation students can’t rely on their parents‘ college experiences to guide them – a valuable resource that helps students navigate college. Low-income students are more likely to struggle with the high cost of college and in response may have to borrow significant loans or work throughout college. Many experience food insecurity and homelessness.

At AL1GN, we believe in the strength and perseverance of FGLI students, even in the face of systemic barriers, high costs, and family responsibilities. We believe that FGLI students have what it takes to not only finish college, but flourish, and leave confident in their ability to thrive. Our conferences present students and staff with the knowledge and tools to return home and enact impactful programming, such as community food pantries, student-led coalitions, and more. Students leave feeling empowered to finish their degree and implement positive change at their home institutions.

Our coalition

Who We Serve

First-generation college students: a student whose parents did not complete a 4-year (Bachelor’s) degree within the U.S. We encourage our students to self-identify as first-gen and don’t use a specific definition.

Low-income college students: students who qualify for the Pell Grant or other forms of government assistance. We encourage our students to self-identify as low-income and don’t use a specific income threshold.

Faculty, staff and administrators: professionals and university officials working to support first-generation and low-income college students across the country.

Get to know us better

Our Coalition in Numbers


annual national conferences


colleges and universities served


college students, faculty, staff, and administrators in our network


by FGLI, for FGLI

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