As fall term begins on campus, students at Oregon State can find financial support through two resources available through the university – Beavers Care and the Human Services Resource Center.
In spring 2020, the Federal CARES Act scholarship granted more than $6 billion to college students whose lives had been disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak. According to an article published in the Daily Barometer, once OSU’s portion of that money was gone, they did not receive more federal funding. Keith Raab, director of the Financial Aid office, told the Barometer they “Remain hopeful that the federal government will take additional action to provide more support for students.”
While waiting to receive more federal funding, students can turn to Beavers Care, an emergency scholarship fund through the OSU Foundation, that began in the spring along with the CARES Act. According to the article in the Barometer, Beavers Care has distributed $222,720 to students needing help with emergency needs.
The application for Beavers Care is easier to complete than the CARES Act application and, even more helpful, Beavers Care has no eligibility requirements. It is open to students, staff, and faculty who may be experiencing hardship. $1.3 million for this program has come directly from 3,300 donors.
Kristin Watkins, Vice President of Donor Engagement and Chief Marketing Officer of the OSU Foundation, told the Barometer, “More than 700 members of our faculty and staff have given to Beavers Care… their generosity speaks volumes about OSU’s culture and helped inspire further giving that had an even greater impact on students, faculty and staff in need.”
Another resource available to OSU students during the pandemic and under normal operations is the Human Services Resource Center. If looking for assistance, students can go to the HSRC website and request support. Support can be as simple as helping students to rent textbooks for the term, to giving laptops to students who require them, to helping applicants apply for SNAP – a federal program that provides grocery assistance.
The newest program at the HSRC is called Healthy Beaver Bags. Students with ID can attend this event every Friday from 12-2:30 p.m., where they learn to cook healthy and nutritional meals.
“Before the Pandemic,” said Nicole Hindes, HSRC Director, in an interview with the Barometer, “the food pantry used to be shopping style, similar to a grocery store with lots of selection and the ability for people to leave with the food they wanted…This model is both high volunteer and not safe under COVID-19, so we had to start making food boxes for students with only a few fresh items.”
Hindes went on to explain that OSU students were concerned with this, as they felt they weren’t getting as healthy of choices. The HSRC addressed this with Healthy Beaver Bags, offering healthier food options and instruction on how to cook them.
Hindes wants students to know that asking for help is not a sign of weakness. “We are seeing two distinct groups of students at the HSRC who need support. One group is the students who have previously lived through financial hardships and know how to ask for help,” she told the Barometer. “The second is students who are new to this and don’t know how to do this. But it’s okay to ask for help; these resources are set up for it and it’s even a sign of strength to do so.”
For information about applying for Beavers Care, students can contact the OSU Office of Financial Aid at 541-737-2241 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about programs offered through the Human Services Resources Center, visit their website.
By Kyra Young