With an average of 70,000 student touchpoints each year, the Salem State Student Navigation Center exclusively focuses on serving students' needs. The center's multilingual team guides students on all aspects of the college experience.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made the center's financial aid efforts even more vital. Many students have lost their jobs because of the shutdown, or their households have been sidelined by the virus.
"Our number of student interactions is trending even higher now because of the pandemic," says Evelyn Almeida, assistant director of the Student Navigation Center, who also administers the Student Emergency Fund. "For so many families, both the student and parents have lost their jobs. Some were already on a razor-thin financial margin before the crisis hit."
"Students come to Salem State from all backgrounds and levels of educational experience-including many first-generation, nontraditional and diverse households," says Carol Ampey-Sullivan, student services specialist. "Some are making it through college entirely on their own."
Last year alone, Salem State distributed more than $593,061 in scholarships to 242 students-all funded by generous donors to the university.
"The funds students receive through scholarships literally make dreams come true," says Bryan Boppert, associate director of the Student Navigation Center. "Many of our students are hard-working individuals who take on a few different jobs to pay for their education."
The Student Navigation Center makes it possible to connect students with so many forms of philanthropic support for scholarships and programs necessary to transform a student's career trajectory.