WSCC offers variety of resources to help students succeed

December 16, 2022

WSCC offers variety of resources to help students succeed

WSCC News is a presentation of West Shore Community College in partnership with Mason County Press. 

VICTORY TOWNSHIP — Over the past few years West Shore Community College has increased its commitment to help students succeed beyond academics. Julie Dill is the director of student access and resources. Her job is to help students find solutions to being successful. 

Dill, who is employed by WSCC, is assisted by Molly McCarthy, who serves as the Mason County Family Link community resource coordinator at WSCC. McCarthy is employed by United Way of Mason County. 

“If we want students to be able to be successful in their education we often have to assist them in removing barriers that they face from outside of school,” Dill said. “This may be something like students having housing issues, from being homeless to not being able to afford their electric bill. We can provide them with resources that help them overcome those barriers.” 

McCarthy said she works with several local organizations to help students such as HELP Ministries, True North, Michigan Works, West Michigan Community Mental Health and Lakeshore Food Club. 

Dill said several students will approach her when they have challenges. Students are also referred to Dill’s office by a faculty or staff member. 

“Our faculty and staff are really good in identifying a student who may be having challenges,” Dill said. “This often happens when a student is having failing grades or a sudden increase in absences.” 

Dill said she will reach out to the student. 

“A lot of students respond very well when we reach out,” Jill said. “Some don’t respond. We try not to be intrusive when we are reaching out. The students who do respond are pretty gracious.” 

Dill said one of the biggest challenges students have been facing is the cost of transportation. She said she has provided over $7,000 in gas cards to students this semester, which began the end of August. Her office often provides students with laptop computers also. 

Funds utilized by the student access and resources office come from a variety of sources such as federal, state and local grants. Those funds also have helped students with making housing payments, repairing vehicles, or anything that helps reduce barriers.

Dill said there is a mix of demographics who her office assists. 

“When it comes to mental health resources and financial needs, we are finding we typically help the younger students more. 

“It’s difficult to gauge because I started this position in 2020 during the pandemic,” Dill said. “That was a very challenging time and required us to provide a lot of assistance to students. As we move into ‘normal’ times, I think we will have a better idea of who needs assistance and the level of assistance we provide.” 

Students also have access to mental health services provided by West Michigan Community Mental Health. 

Dill said the college has a variety of other resources available for students. For example, a student can check out a mobile hot spot from the library for a semester to help with access to the internet. 

“We discovered during the pandemic that there are many students who do not have access to broadband internet,” Dill said. “This is a huge a barrier.” 

Students who are in need of assistance may contact either Dill or McCarthy by going to the college’s website and selecting “Care Team” or: 

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