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Generation First

Senior Ashlee Reece is on a mission to help other first-generation MU students.

Mizzou’s campus size isn’t what Ashlee Reece found daunting. Coming from a high school graduating class of 500, big didn’t bother her.

But the first-generation college student from Rialto, Calif., did find a lot about university life overwhelming — particularly paying for it. It was a struggle knowing what the Student Financial Aid office needed, and when and what all the forms meant. Reece’s great aunt has a doctorate and had always been her mentor in school matters, but her great aunt’s college experience was decades old and didn’t include computerized records, email and paperless billing.

She knows her parents love her, but they don’t know how to help. Neither work in fields that require a college degree. “I’m on a very individual journey,” Reece explains.

There was nobody there to tell me, ‘This is what [Student] Financial Aid means when they say this,’ ” she says. “I didn’t understand that, so it took a lot of [phone] calls and meetings with people. I was lost.”

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