SAN FRANCISCO – Wells Fargo Education Financial Services and First Generation Films today kicked off the “Go College!” national community event initiative that will present 70 film screenings of the award-winning documentary First Generation to tens-of-thousands of high school students, parents, educators and civic and community leaders in 10 major cities across the United States throughout 2014.

Go College! was created to help shrink the higher education gap amongst first generation college-bound students, minorities and underserved youth through the inspirational stories captured in First Generation.  The screenings will also include a panel discussion with the documentary film makers, education leaders, and college financial planning experts.

First Generation is narrated by two-time Golden Globe Award nominee Blair Underwood and tells the story of four high school students – an inner city athlete, a small town waitress, a Samoan warrior dancer, and the daughter of migrant field workers – who are looking to break the cycle of poverty and bring hope to their families and communities through a college education.

“A college education can change not just a life, but the prospects of an entire community,” said John Rasmussen, Head of Wells Fargo’s Education Financial Services. “Wells Fargo has been part of the student lending business for more than 40 years and we recognize that paying for an education is a critical financial event for many students and their families. By partnering with First Generation Films to create the Go College! initiative, we hope to plant seeds of hope in America’s first generation students and make the prospects of achieving higher education a reality.”

In each city, Go College! will feature four to six private screenings for students and educators at local high schools and a large-scale theatrical screening that will be free and open to the public. Attendees will have the opportunity to engage the filmmaking team of Adam and Jaye Fenderson, Wells Fargo private student lending and financial planning experts and local educational leaders in a dialogue focused on how to make attending college a reality. Attendees are also encouraged to submit education-related questions before and after the scheduled events using the hashtags #GoCollege and #WFCollegeTour on Twitter. Free information packets on college application processes, scholarship opportunities, tips to estimate college costs, and how to capitalize on various funding sources to pay for college will be provided at all screenings.

“Our goal in making the film was to help high school students learn from their peers about the college admissions process,” said co-Director Jaye Fenderson, a former senior admissions officer at Columbia University and the author of Seventeen’s Guide To Getting Into College. “But it evolved to become so much more than that – an emotional experience and message that resonated with underserved communities.”

“By bringing the film directly to students and speaking with their parents, we want to remove any perceived and actual barriers to college access,” said co-Director Adam Fenderson.

“We want to encourage students and parents to engage the panel participants at the event and on Twitter to foster a high-quality learning experience,” said Rasmussen. “Go College! is not only an opportunity for parents and students to learn everything they need to know about how to apply to colleges, but also gain a better understanding of how to afford the cost of tuition.”

Go College! will tour Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Oakland and Washington DC in Spring 2014. In Fall 2014, the campaign will visit the cities of Atlanta, Miami, Minneapolis, Houston, and Dallas. For tour information, please visit www.FirstGenerationFilm.com/gocollege.


The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), known as the Black Press of America, is the federation of more than 200 Black community newspapers in the United States.