A historic celebration is coming to not just the University of New Mexico, but the entire country on Nov. 8.

It’s the 55th anniversary of the Higher Education Act, legislation signed into law by Former President Lyndon Johnson. He proposed to Congress in 1965 that ​​higher education was no longer a luxury but a necessity for all. This act increased federal money given to universities, created scholarships, gave low-interest loans for students, and established a National Teachers Corps. 

It also was where the term ‘first-generation’ was coined, as many low-middle income adults were now able to afford university for the first time in their family’s history.

The act was bolstered or re-signed each year up until 2013, in which it was reformatted and renamed.

Today, first-generation students make up one-third of college students in the U.S. Most students average around age 23, but the number of ‘Gen Z’ first-generation students is also rising.

First-generation students make up half of UNM’s student body. In March of 2022, UNM was also declared a First-generation Forward Institution by the Center for First-gen Student Success.

UNM Student Affairs is inviting first-generation students to show off their pride on this anniversary, through social media or in-person on campus with a “first-gen proud” shirt. They are also encourage using the hashtag #unmiamfirst across platforms.

If you are a first-generation student who has not received a shirt, you can do so by clicking the link here.

Hear the stories of first-generation students and learn more about what makes UNM “first-gen proud” by heading online.