NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Six first-generation students at Stephen F. Austin State University received $5,000 scholarships from Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages to help with their financial needs so they can continue their studies at the university.
The scholarships were awarded through an SFA Student Success Center program called Generation Jacks, an extended learning community for students who are the first in their families to achieve four-year college educations. GenJacks members take classes together, participate in service activities and host social events for the GenJacks community.
“With 42% percent of SFA’s student population being first-generation students, we work hard to make a difference in their lives by helping them earn their degrees and launch successful careers,” said Raquel Skidmore, director of the Student Success Center. “The donation from Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages truly will have a great impact on these students’ lives.”
The six recipients are Josephine Damian, first-year criminal justice major from Friendswood; Roselen Ramirez, first-year social work major from Coppell; Jazmin Eguia, sophomore modern languages major from Houston; MaryAlexa Borrovich Quijano, sophomore business management major from Nacogdoches; Jada Cartwright, junior criminal justice major from Lockhart; and Sabrina Gutierrez, senior interior design major from Austin.
“As a first-generation college student, I am thankful for this support because it means I can continue my college education,” Eguia said. “Your help motivates me to continue doing my best. Thank you very much for this opportunity.”
Participation in the GenJacks learning community has shown to help students earn higher GPAs, receive enhanced faculty and professional academic advisor support, and engage more in student activities, among other benefits.
According to SFA’s Office of Strategic Analytics and Institutional Research, the one-year retention rate of GenJacks students is 87% compared to 72% for other first-gen students at SFA and 81% for students who are not first-generation.
The six-year graduation rate of GenJacks students is 76% compared to 51% for first-generation students not supported by the program and 59% for students who are not first-generation.
For more information about SFA’s Student Success Center and its GenJacks initiatives, visit the Student Success Center website.
ABOUT STEPHEN F. AUSTIN STATE UNIVERSITY
Stephen F. Austin State University, the newest member of The University of Texas System, began a century ago as a teachers’ college in Texas’ oldest town, Nacogdoches. Today, it has grown into a regional institution comprising six colleges — business, education, fine arts, forestry and agriculture, liberal and applied arts, and sciences and mathematics. Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, SFA enrolls approximately 11,000 students while providing the academic breadth of a state university with the personalized attention of a private school. The main campus encompasses 421 acres that include 37 academic facilities, nine residence halls, and 68 acres of recreational trails that wind through its six gardens. The university offers more than 80 bachelor’s degrees, more than 40 master’s degrees and four doctoral degrees covering more than 120 areas of study. Learn more at the SFA website.