What is FGLI?

FGLI refers generally to first-generation, lower-income, meaning, students who are the first in their families to attend college and/or who come from lower-income households. Students have also welcomed peers to participate in their community who may not strictly be FGLI but whose circumstances mirror that of FGLI students. At Penn, students pronounce it “figly” and self identify and embrace the acronym by joining organizations like Penn First, a registered student organization dedicated to creating a campus community for FGLI students through advocacy and through planning social and community building activities. FGLI student organizations were created by students, for students to help build community and create a sense of belonging and as such were designed to be inclusive of students who self identify and/or who are interested in supporting FGLI students. For a list of student organizations other than Penn First, see list below.

The FGLI Program

The First-Generation, Low-Income (FGLI) Program opened in in 2016 at the Greenfield Intercultural Center (GIC), part of University Life. The FGLI Program supports students’ social transition and personal needs while facilitating community-building and a sense of belonging. For a list of initiatives designed by FGLI students in partnership with GIC, see below, 

* Please note that students who self identify as FGLI or who are allies are welcome to participate. This is a student created community. 
**For formal questions on financial aid eligibility for highly aided students and access to university resources, please reach out to your SFS counselor or to the PennFirst Plus office.

Textbooks and E-codes

The GIC’s donated book library has moved to Penn Libraries. The donated textbook collection is a supplemental resource within Penn Libraries to support students.

  • To save on textbook $$$, take full advantage of ALL of the resources at Penn Libraries. This link will also walk you through how to sign-on to GIC community and in order to borrow textbooks from the GIC Collection at Penn Library.
  • Students can consult with their Financial Aid advisers and review their aid packages to understand what funding sources in their aid package are designated to help them acquire their course materials.
  • Connect with the Penn First Plus office to request assistance with textbook codes.

GIC Food Pantry and Fresh Produce

The GIC Pantry was established in 2016 in partnership with FGLI student organizations to support students trying to stretch limited budgets. Running to class and did not get a chance to grab breakfast? No time to shop or cook in a busy week? If so, consider stopping by the GIC to pick up some microwaveable breakfast or some non-perishable items to cook a quick meal on a busy day. We are located at 3708 Chestnut Street. Questions? Email Patricia Soria psoria@upenn.edu

Greenfield Greens – The GIC is excited to offer fresh produce pick-ups in partnership with Penn Park Farm. These are veggies grown directly in the Penn Park Farm. We’ll get veggies such as eggplants, basil, mint, tomatoes, bell peppers, collard greens, okra, etc. We will have produce bags available weekly between September to November. The first 30 students to sign up will get a Greenfield Greens produce bag. Registration will open weekly and will cap at 30 people. Follow us on IG to know when registration link goes live! (https://www.instagram.com/penn_gic/)

Learning Communities

Studying in a comfortable environment with peers who share similar experiences and identities can make a course seem less intimidating. With this in mind, the Weingarten Center collaborates with the GIC to support First-Generation Low-Income (FGLI) students each semester by offering facilitated study groups for two courses based on demand.

The FGLI Program Learning Communities for fall 2021 are listed below:

  1. MATH 104, Tuesdays 6:00 – 7:30 p.m., GIC Patio and Patio room  
  1. ECON 001, Wednesdays 6:30 – 8:00 p.m., Location: TBD

page about Study Group Support: https://wlrc.vpul.upenn.edu/lr/lr-studygroupsupport/


Penn FLASH is an extended family knowledge sharing network. The knowledge sharing takes place between current Penn students and Penn Alumni, or alumni to alumni. The tool is designed to help FGLI students build a cohesive network and career-building skills as they journey through Penn and beyond.


FruiTea Conversations

FruiTea is an inclusive safe space dedicated to re-exploring various aspects of one’s cultural identity. Our gathering starts with people sharing their drawings on a broad ice-breaker topic. During the sharing of the ice-breaker, organic conversations then begin to flourish. Everyone is welcome to join.
FruiTea meets weekly on Thursday nights between 7-8 p.m. at the GIC. Contact Teji Wang (insert email).


FGLI Café brings together the FGLI community for a time to find encouragement and inspiration. Just like a café there is always a “Special of the Day” — this can be a person, student organization, or a theme.

FGLI Student Groups

Penn First is a student organization at the University of Pennsylvania for first-generation college students and students from a low-income background. Our goal is to build a community for all FGLI students on campus by providing support through social events, professional development resources, and creating brave spaces for conversation.

Learn more at https://pennfirst.weebly.com
Contact: pennfirstboard@gmail.com

Collective Success at Penn (CSAP) is the Penn Chapter of the Collective Success Network, a Philadelphia-based organization focused on empowering first-generation low-income (FGLI) students attending colleges and universities in the Greater Philadelphia area. CSAP organizes professional development events and programs for students to cultivate leadership skills, and to foster a strong social support within the FGLI community.

Contact: Catherine Huang (cathuang@nursing.upenn.edu)

Quest Scholars at Penn is a campus chapter of QuestBridge Scholars Network (QSN), a national community for individuals who were both selected as National College Match Finalists and attend QuestBridge college partners. By collaborating with other FGLI organizations and Penn administrators, we offer various events that cover everything from career and academics to social life and mentorship. As a chapter, we hope to bring QuestBridge Scholars at Penn together to foster a stronger community and personal relationships, advocate for their needs, and provide all support necessary to allow QuestBridge Scholars thrive.

Instagram: @pennquestbridge
Contact: Annie Vo (annievo@wharton.upenn.edu)

The First-Generation, Low-Income (FGLI) Dean’s Advisory Board is a student group at Penn that serves the purpose of hearing the academic and social challenges of FGLI students and subsequently discussing them with College Dean Paul Sniegowski and other administrators. From there, we introduce and carry out solutions for said problems. We are very excited to get to know FGLI students from all years and to start creating a safe space where students can feel comfortable talking to us. Our primary focus is in the College, but we do advocate for all FGLI students across the four undergraduate schools.

If you have any questions, please email us at fglidab1984@gmail.com

FGLIQ is a student organization committed to fostering and supporting a community of queer students who identify as first generation and/or low income (FGLI). We are welcoming of all Penn students, including LPS students, graduate students, and part-time students.

Contact: Steven Chen, scsteven@sas.upenn.edu and Eduardo Mejia-Garcia,

FLITE (FGLI in Tech and Engineering) is a student organization that provides catered support, opportunities, and development for FGLI students at Penn passionate about technology and engineering. We provide resources, mentorship, and a community for FGLI students in engineering to promote success and opportunities both professionally and academically.

Contact: Annie Vo, annievo@wharton.upenn.edu

iFGLI (International FGLI) is a student organization at the University of Pennsylvania for international lower income and/or first generation students (iFGLIs). This group is looking to foster a community for all iFGLIs by recognizing the diversity of their backgrounds. Our main goal is to provide support and to advocate for the needs of every single iFGLI. We look forward to meeting you!

Contact: ifgli2020@gmail.com

Seven|Eight is a community that aims to engage with all FGLI AAPI individuals in order to create a safe space for students to navigate the challenges associated with this unique identity at Penn. The group meets up for bimonthly community discussions to facilitate sustainable and impactful relationships.

Contact: Linda Chan