Community Scholars Program celebrates 50th anniversary; Georgetown program boasts 91 percent graduation rate for first-gen students

The Community Scholars Program (CSP) at Georgetown University celebrates its 50th anniversary this weekend, shining attention on the program’s longstanding success in enrolling, retaining, and graduating racially and ethnically diverse, first-generation students.

Community Scholars—who come mostly from underresourced schools and are selected for their academic achievements, personal initiative, and service—have a 91 percent graduation rate, which far exceeds the national average for first-generation students, and a first-to-second-year retention rate of 98.5 percent.

The October 5 event welcomed hundreds of alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of CSP to campus for faculty dialogues, a walking tour of campus, and an alumni panel highlighting the legacy and accomplishments of this groundbreaking program. (Watch for highlights from the event in next week’s issue of THE FEED.)


Founded in 1968 after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and uprisings around the country, CSP sought to start to address the extreme disparities experienced by Black Americans living in Washington, D.C., and other cities. The first cohort comprised six Black students from Washington, D.C.; today, the program includes students from across the country and a wide range of cultures and ethnicities. Managed by the Center for Multicultural Equity & Access, the program provides enhanced educational opportunity to first-generation college students from pre-orientation through graduation and beyond.

The CSP experience begins with a five-week academic summer program designed to aid students’ transition to higher education. Community Scholars take classes for credit, attend orientation workshops, and begin forming bonds with one another, teachers, and administrators. Once the regular academic year begins, the program supports its students throughout their Georgetown careers with advising, mentoring and personal counseling, study groups, workshops, and seminars.

Learn more about CSP

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