First Generation FIU Student Vivian Arias
Having worked since she was 16 to relieve her mother’s financial burden, Vivian Arias knows what it means to sacrifice. Her constant need to work to provide for her family has made her studies more challenging, but she has not allowed her financial situation to deter her from pursuing an education. A senior in the College of Business Administration’s School of Accounting, Vivian is now setting a precedent in her family as a first generation student.
“No one in my family has a college degree. I’m actually the first to even get a high school diploma! My mother didn’t want me to go down the same path as her so she raised me to always put my education first. Hence, I have excelled in my studies since elementary school. I truly value education because of the doors it opens,” said Arias.
An aspiring CPA, Arias chose to pursue her education at FIU because “it was close to home and has an excellent accounting program.” She recognizes the difference a college education makes in people’s lives.
“My family comes from a third world country where education isn’t exactly a priority. They moved to the United States in pursuit of what many know as ‘The American Dream.’ Unfortunately, that dream was never really accomplished. I grew up watching my mother struggle to provide the best for my two sisters and [me]. It saddens me to see that she is stuck with dead end jobs, unable to move up the corporate ladder because of her lack of a college education. However, this sets an example of what I DON’T want to happen to me and adds to my determination,” Arias expressed.
Realizing the value of education and its impact on students, Arias explained, “There are endless opportunities that an education can grant you. Of course, nothing comes without a price and education is not cheap. That’s why I am grateful for those who donate to scholarships because they indirectly help open doors for us.”
A Future Mentor
Thanks to support from the First Generation Scholarship Fund, Arias plans to open her own accounting firm in Florida after receiving her degree. Designed to bring a university education within reach, the First Generation Scholarship Fund provides financial aid to qualified undergraduate students at Florida’s state universities. Since its inception in 2006, the Fund has awarded support to more than 6,100 students, totaling nearly $4.2 million in scholarships. Matched 100 percent by the State of Florida, the Fund ensures that the university’s multicultural students receive the financial support needed to reap the benefits of an FIU degree.
“I feel absolutely grateful to be a recipient of the First Generation Scholarship!” Arias said. “Having these funds available allows me to continue my dream of obtaining a college degree. I hope that … I will be able to set an example for others who are in a less fortunate situation. I wish to mentor and inspire others!”