Eligibility Requirements

Two young woman and a young man smiling
  • Student can be any major.
  • Student is taking classes full time (so at least 12 credits).
  • Student identifies as a first-generation college student. UMass Lowell identifies a student as being a first-generation college student if neither of their parents/guardians completed a four-year college degree. First-generation identity, however, is often much more complicated than that, and more inclusively defined it refers to anyone who feels like, for whatever reasons, that they are not able to draw on the college-related expertise of someone within their family network who has direct and relevant experience in the U.S. higher education system.
  • Student demonstrates a willingness to be a positive, contributing member of the campus community.
  • Students may be in both RHSA and Honors (and there are special courses and benefits for students who are in both)


RHSA students will:
  • Tap into their own capabilities to make the most of their time at UMass Lowell and position themselves as potential future leaders on campus and beyond.
  • Discover a supportive community of diverse, exceptional people within the RHSA.
  • Understand and know how to access some of the key student services offered at UMass Lowell (such as the Centers for Learning, Advising, and Student Success, the Wellness Center and the Solution Center).
  • Learn how to handle personal struggles, academic challenges and unexpected setbacks in healthy, productive ways.
  • Choose their courses based on thoughtful reflection about their own interests and goals and on accurate information about their degree program and the core curriculum.
  • Develop a sense of civic duty by giving back to the communities they belong to, including the RHSA, the university and the city of Lowell.

Benefits Overview

  • A support team made up of committed people who put your needs, your learning, and your well-being first, including the RHSA academic coach and your assigned Faculty Advocate and UKG Peer Leader. 
  • The opportunity to join a wide array of success and opportunity programs and enroll in RHSA courses.
  • Early move-in to on-campus housing for incoming freshmen.
  • Priority registration for every semester.
  • Student-of-the-month recognition program.
  • Study hours with RHSA Study Peers.
  • Free workshops, sessions, and social events offered throughout the year to help students succeed academically and connect to their fellow RHSA peers.
  • Paid research, learning, community-engaged, and career-connected opportunities with faculty and peers, including mentoring from a dedicated RHSA Faculty Advocate in your department or college.
  • Scholarship opportunities offered only to students in the RHSA.
  • During students’ first year in RHSA, they participate in their Year of Support. The focus of this year is to develop their understanding of how to succeed academically in their major, build their network of support, and engage in meaningful ways with the campus community. Students receive a number of benefits during this year and if they successfully complete the year, they gain access to the Years of Opportunity and Pathways to Career experiences and additional benefits and scholarships they can apply for during their sophomore through senior years.
    Students in this year:
    • Join us for the RHSA Welcome Day on the Friday before fall classes begin.
    • Are placed into a small group of fellow first-generation students who either share the same major, are in the same department, or are in the same college.  This group is called a “First Gen Pod” and will have a professor (Faculty Advocate) and peer mentor (Peer Leader) who work with them all year to support their goals.  
    • Attend a 75-minute meeting every other week with their First Gen Pod, led by their Faculty Advocate.  The First Gen Pod meeting schedule is part of RHSA student’s fall course schedule. In the spring, the Pod will not meet regularly but will maintain community through ongoing communication and engagement. In the spring, students will meet at least once with their Faculty Advocate for a check-in meeting.
    • Meet with their assigned RHSA Peer Leader at least two times per semester (fall and spring) for a one-on-one check-in conversation.
    • Attend at least two RHSA events of students’ choosing per semester (fall and spring) from a wide range of options.
    • Complete a brief “pulse check” survey every other week so that RHSA can celebrate your successes and be there to support you when you need it.
    • Have access to additional opt-in experiences like our pre-college program First to Launch, our Living Learning Community, SAIL (leadership 101 program that runs each spring semester), and success coaching.
  • Upon successfully completing their Year of Support, students are able to stay in RHSA and unlock their Years of Opportunity. These sophomore through senior year opportunity programs and courses are optional chances for students to opt into (or apply for, depending on the program) a wide range of experiences. Students who enter their Years of Opportunity maintain their priority registration benefit as well as priority access to RHSA events, scholarships and opportunities. 
    Years of Opportunity programs and benefits include:
    • Engaged for Excellence scholarships
    • Elevate, a mentoring program for sophomores
    • Continued access to the RHSA Living Learning Community
    • Continued access to success coaching
    • Paid research, learning, and community-engaged positions
    • Leadership programs with scholarships including Peer & Team Leaders and Women Working Wonders
    • Study Abroad
    • Reading & Writing Fellowships
  • Pathways to Career programs focus on students in their junior and senior years in RHSA in helping them develop their career readiness and prepare to enter the job market or apply to graduate school with confidence. Students who want to take advantage of these opportunities can consider:
    • Pathways to Career, our co-curricular career readiness initiative
    • Project Onramp program for those looking for paid summer internships 
    • UMLO.2000, a 1-credit job search seminar for students in RHSA