The University of Central Florida is a leader in reaching out to first-generation college students and supporting them once enrolled, according to a national guidebook.

UCF is among 284 colleges highlighted in the 2011 College Access & Opportunity Guide, a unique handbook for parents and students who cannot readily afford college and may not be familiar with the public university system.

The guidebook recently recognized UCF for its efforts to attract, enroll and retain low-income, first-generation students and highlighted several UCF programs, including the UCF Achievers Program and the Summer Bridge Programs.

The UCF Achievers Program offers direct access to university-sponsored and community-based academic programs for high-achieving local students and their parents.

The Summer Bridge Programs encompasses the Seizing Opportunities for Achievement and Retention (SOAR) and the Pegasus Success Program. Each of these summer programs provides students from disadvantaged backgrounds or those with lower standardized test scores with academic enrichment and community involvement or service opportunities.

The College Access & Opportunity Guide was created by the Center for Student Opportunity, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting higher education opportunities for first-generation and other historically underserved-college bound students.

“We want to show students and their supporters that the opportunity for college is there,” said Matt Rubinoff, executive director of Center for Student Opportunity. “The 2011 College Access & Opportunity Guide is a special resource that provides guidance through the college process and delivers important information on college programs aimed to serve low-income, first-generation college students.”