Opportunity Fund for First Gen Students

Sponsored by the Center for Career Development & Institute for Student Success.

The Opportunity Fund was created to remove some of the barriers undergraduate students may face when participating in experiential learning. Through the Opportunity Fund, students can apply for financial support to make professional opportunities, such as an internship or traveling to an interview, a reality.

Qualifying experiences include and may not be limited to internship or co-op-related expenses, job shadows, attending conferences, participating in interviews, engaging in training sessions, starting a business, and other professional development opportunities. Experiences must be in a field of the student’s interest and must feature quality supervision and/or a career-development component but need not be directly related to one’s major or academic program. Experiences will be reviewed by the application review committee.

Students that identify as first generation are eligible to apply. At UConn, a first generation student is an individual whose parent or guardian did not attain a bachelor’s degree.

Click HERE to apply.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

    • 1. How is a First Generation Student at UConn defined?

      a. A first generation college student is defined as a student whose parent or guardian did not attain a bachelor’s degree.

    • 2. What are the application components?

      A successfully completed application requires:

      a. A description of the experience for which funding is being requested.

      b. A budget, describing what funding will be used for.

    • 3. What types of opportunities are eligible for funding?

      a. Qualifying experiences include but are not limited to internship and co-op-related expenses, job shadows, attending conferences, participating in interviews, engaging in training sessions, starting a business, and other professional development opportunities.

      b. Experiences must be in a field of the student’s interest and must feature quality supervision and/or a career-development component, but need not be directly related to one’s major or academic program.

      c. Experiences will be reviewed by application review committee.

    • 4. Do I need to be a Storrs-based student to apply?
      a. No, undergraduate students from all UConn campuses are eligible to apply.
    • 5. If selected for funding, will I receive the full amount I request?
      a. The application review committee will closely examine the budget you submit with your application. Generally, the more detailed your budget, the stronger your application. Based on the information you provide and available funds, an amount may be awarded to you, equal to or less than your request.
    • 6. What class years are eligible for funding?
      a. First gen sophomores and juniors enrolled at the University of Connecticut.

      *First generation student definition: A student whose parent or guardian did not attain a bachelor’s degree.
    • 7. Can I be an undeclared or ACES student and receive funding?

      a. Absolutely – undergraduate students identifying as first gen from all academic programs, including those not yet decided, are eligible to apply.

      *First generation student definition: A student whose parent or guardian did not attain a bachelor’s degree.

    • 8. What types of activities are not eligible for funding?

      a. Awarded funds may not be used for any of the following: purchasing or leasing a vehicle, tuition at the University of Connecticut or another institution, personal expenses deemed unnecessary (e.g. buying lunch for coworkers or friends, traveling to another part of the state after work) to completing the experience, and other discretionary expenses deemed unrelated to the opportunity. Please be mindful of this when submitting your application.

      b. Experiences funded through the UConn IDEA grant, or other University funding mechanisms, are not eligible and will be referred to other departments, as appropriate.

    • 9. Who decides who receives funding?
      a. The Center for Career Development has developed a committee to closely and carefully review student applications. The committee consists of staff from the Center for Career Development, Institute for Student Success, and Africana Studies/CLAS.
    • 10. How long does it take to hear back about my application?

      a. The application review committee will review all applications after the April 21, 2021 deadline. We will strive to let students know by May 7, 2021.

      b. If funds remain after the initial award process, applications received after the April 21st deadline, will be accepted and evaluated on a rolling basis until funds have been exhausted.

    • 11. What do I do if I have questions?
      a. Please email internships@uconn.edu with questions about the Opportunity Fund for First Gen Students.
    • 12. Will the funds I receive impact my financial aid?
      a. No, the funds will be added to your account via scholarship disbursement which does not affect your financial aid.

Prior Recipients:

The Fund makes the impossible possible; offering the keys to doors for future careers and life experiences. I would not have been able to have such a fulfilling internship this past summer.

– JOEL

Communication and Psychological Sciences Major,
Social Media Management Intern with the Professional Fighters League

The UConn Center for Career Development and their Opportunity Fund gave me the chance to take this opportunity without fear, changing the trajectory of my future fundamentally.

– SHELBY

Political Science Major,
Intern with Senator Maggie Hassan

The funds were able to help professionally prepare me to think more about post-graduation opportunities I would be interested in and personally help me contribute to a better community.

– SHIRA

Human Rights and Communication Major,
Housing Intern with WATCH CDC

The Opportunity Fund allowed me to have a rewarding summer by not having to sacrifice my choice of an internship program, due to it being unpaid.

– JOHANNA

Psychological Sciences Major,
Intern at the Boys & Girls Club

(The Opportunity Fund) made the internship process less stressful because I did not have to worry about finances.

– AARON

Political Science Major,
Intern with Senator Richard Blumenthal and State Representative Matt Ritter