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FACT: 9 out of 10 low-income, first-generation college students will not earn a degree by age 24. They drop out at 4 times the rate of students whose parents earned a college degree.

Jesse Sanchez

MEET JESSE SANCHEZ… Growing up, the son of an immigrant mother who earns $7,000 a year cleaning houses, college was only a dream. With support and a scholarship from Center for Student Opportunity, Jesse beat the odds to graduate from Harvard University and go on to become a Fulbright Scholar. Our scholarship provided financial assistance and gave Jesse an outlet to find a passion for sharing his story to inspire future first-gens, as I’m First! Scholarship winners chronicle their college journeys on our blog, virtually mentoring thousands of students who use our resources annually.

“Because no one in my family had ever gone to college, I had no one to turn to for support and advice. Luckily, I had CSO. They provided me with the resources necessary to make it to where I am now. I couldn’t have done it without them!” -Jesse Sanchez

Our critical work is not possible without the generosity of our donors. Please join our cause with a gift so that more students like Jesse can proudly declare, “I’m First!”

Here are just a handful of ways your gift can impact the lives of the first-generation college students we support:

$25Cost of producing and distributing one I’m First Guide to College to a first-gen college-bound student, underserved high school, or community-based organization

$50Cost of sending a personal care package to a first-gen college student during final exam week

$250Average cost of sending an aspiring first-gen college student on a campus visit

$500Cost of producing and distributing a classroom set of 25 I’m First Guide to College books to an underserved high school or community-based organization

$1,000Average cost to offer a college prep workshop in an underserved community

$2,000Cost of funding one I’m First Scholarship award for one year of college

$8,000Cost of funding one I’m First Scholarship award winner for four years of college


Help us further reach underserved communities, raise widespread awareness of our programs and resources, increase participation, and build greater support for first-gen college students with an annual gift of $5,000 or more. Learn more


Please contact the Office of Development at (301) 363-4228 to discuss endowment and planned giving opportunities.

Grant making organizations play a critical role in supporting CSO with general operating and project-based funding. Should you wish to invite CSO to apply for a specific grant with your foundation, please contact the Office of Development at (301) 363-4228.

We welcome the opportunity to work with your company or organization on special projects that help further our shared missions. You may make a general donation or contact the Office of Development at (301) 363-4228 to discuss ways we can work together to empower first-gen college students on the path to and through college.

We also accept stock, in-kind contributions, and matching gifts. Please contact the Office of Development at (301) 363-4228 to discuss options.

Prefer to mail your gift instead? You may complete our donation form and send to:

Office of Development
Center for Student Opportunity
4641 Montgomery Avenue, Suite 513
Bethesda, MD 20814