Welcome! The River Hawk Scholars Academy (RHSA) promotes academic success and fosters active campus engagement for full-time UMass Lowell students who identify as first-generation college students.

image of Matthew Hurwitz

A Letter from the RHSA Director

As the Director of RHSA and on behalf of the entire RHSA community, I want to personally welcome you to UMass Lowell and congratulate you on your acceptance to our university.

UMass Lowell is an institution built through the aspirations of students like you, and professors who themselves were first-generation students. In fact, four out of every ten students who attend UMass Lowell are the first in their family to complete a four-year college degree. It’s a reality that we are all incredibly proud of.

In recognition of UMass Lowell’s commitment to our first-gen students, we created RHSA. We think you will find a community of support and success if you choose to join the Academy. Again, congratulations on having made it to this exciting moment in the story of your life. No matter your choice, it’s your story to write.

Matthew Hurwitz
Director, River Hawk Scholars Academy

Frequently Asked Questions About RHSA

Why is RHSA beneficial?

RHSA helps students navigate the various changes and challenges college life presents, ensuring a successful transition and overall college experience. RHSA members gain additional support, which helps them take advantage of all that UMass Lowell has to offer socially, while maintaining focus academically.

What additional resources and support are available to RHSA members?

RHSA members enjoy the following benefits:

  • A support team made up of committed people who put your needs, your learning and your well-being first, including access to an academic coach.
  • The opportunity to join an associated Living-Learning Community.
  • A summer program called "First to Launch" for incoming first-year students.
  • Early move-in to on-campus housing.
  • Priority registration for up to your first two years as a student.
  • The possibility to take courses with other RHSA students.
  • Research and learning opportunities with faculty and peers, including mentoring from a dedicated RHSA Faculty Advocate in your department or college.
  • Student-of-the-month recognition program.
  • Scholarship opportunities offered only to students in the RHSA.
  • Free workshops, sessions and social events offered throughout the year to help students succeed academically, and also connect to their fellow RHSA peers.
  • Peer mentoring and support from UKG Peer and Team Leaders.
  • The chance to become an RHSA Peer Leader and streamlined access to other campus leadership training and positions.
  • The opportunity to apply for a year-long faculty, staff or industry personal mentor.
  • A study abroad program offered each spring break and scholarship money to significantly reduce the cost of participating.
What steps do I need to take to join RHSA?

Once you pay your admissions enrollment deposit in your admissions portal, we will send more information about RHSA and your transition to UMass Lowell. An RHSA opt-in form will be on your admissions checklist and emailed to you starting in mid-January. Complete the opt-in contract and agree to the terms of the program and you are on your way!

Whom should we contact with questions about the program?

Please reach out to the RHSA team by email with any questions: RHSA@uml.edu.

You can also explore the RHSA website, including highlights of our students of the month.

I do not think RHSA is for me. How do I withdraw from the academy?

We are sorry to hear that you do not think there is a fit. If you would like to withdraw from the program, please reach out to the RHSA team by email: RHSA@uml.edu.