New Kessler Scholars Program at Brown will expand support for first-gen, low-income students

Building on the success of the University’s existing FLiSP program, a new five-year, $1 million grant will create the Kessler Scholars Program, a cohort-based model that bolsters support for first-generation, low-income students.

Each year since 2018, the First-Generation College and Low-Income Scholars Program (FLiSP) at Brown University has offered 16 undocumented, first-generation college and low-income students with a cohort-based first-year experience that provides support, builds community and amplifies the knowledge and strengths those students bring with them when they come to Brown.

Now, a new five-year, $1 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Judy and Fred Wilpon Family Foundation will enable Brown to increase the number of students served, broaden the program across the four-year undergraduate experience, and expand support for participants.

The grant will transition FLiSP into the Kessler Scholars Program at Brown and add the University to the Kessler Scholars Collaborative, a diverse network of colleges and universities dedicated to supporting first-generation students through direct financial support and cohort-based programs. The expanded program will provide coordinated academic, financial, personal and professional support for first-generation, low-income students throughout all four years of their undergraduate education at Brown.

Brown is one of 10 new additions to the collaborative, joining six schools already home to Kessler Scholars programs. The American Talent Initiative and Kessler Scholars Collaborative announced the new members and the accompanying grant support on Tuesday, April 12.

“We are thrilled to be able to sustain and advance the wonderful FLiSP program in the U-FLi Center to support undocumented, first-generation and low-income students in partnership with the Kessler Scholar Collaborative,” said Dean of the College Rashid Zia. “This will expand on an initiative already underway at Brown, while we join a community of partner institutions driven by the same mission. We hope and expect that what we learn through the Kessler Scholars Collaborative will help transform the way we welcome and support students at Brown.”

After a year of planning and transition, the transition of FLiSP into the Kessler Scholars Program will take effect in Fall 2023. Beginning that year, Brown will welcome a new cohort of 20 students to the program annually. By the time the grant expires in 2027, there will be a total of 80 Kessler scholars on campus.

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