Colleges in a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States are expecting to help students. This would be over the next few weeks. This is going to be made possible by a bill. It will aim to streamline the accessibility of resources and aid for college students. It is with the help of a new position creating on campus.
Colleges and House Bill 2835
This bill is going to allocate close to $5 million to Oregon’s colleges and universities to, in fact, hire benefits navigators, employees who do help students access the aid which includes scholarships, as well as food and housing assistance.
Setting a deadline for schools to hire the positions are some of the specifics which are left out of the bill. However, the institutions around the state do say they are really working to get those benefits navigators into place fast. In fact, there are some new benefits navigators are starting to work on to help students. However, they are hoping for more guidance and collaboration with other schools to continue on.
One university out of Oregon’s seven public universities had a benefits navigator before HB 2835 went through. That would be for Oregon State University. Also, after a few months after the bill’s passed, Southern Oregon University has become the second public university in the state with one.
Jason Piazza, SOU’s benefits navigator, said: “I’ve just kind of jumped in, hand-on.”
Piazza did actively work in the school’s aid office. This was prior to stepping into that role for Southern. Moreover, he did possess multiple titles with the school. These include benefits navigator, community outreach, and support manager for the financial aid office.
“SOU Cares Notes” primarily connects with students, Piazza said. Moreover, that’s a system where faculty, advisors, or even students themselves can fill out a form to let the university know a student is struggling in some way.
“If a student does cite financial concern, housing concern, food concern, that is coming across my way, then I will work it out from there,” Piazza said.