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CARES Act funds go to COCC students, Small Business Development Center

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BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Just four months after Central Oregon Community College assisted more than 1,500 students with a financial boost from the school’s federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds, the college is again awarding dollars to students — this time specifically to those with COVID-related challenges.

COCC students can now apply for the “COCC COVID-19 Fund” via an online application, providing a COVID-19-related need (along with documentation), to receive assistance with expenses such as expanding internet access, upgrading a computer, paying online course fees, covering childcare costs and other expenses. To be eligible to receive funds, COCC students must be U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens and enrolled in a minimum of three credits. Eligible students can receive a maximum of $1,000 per term, and financial awards will be distributed beginning the third week of COCC’s fall term on a first-come, first-serve basis.

“The CARES-HEERF Act provided colleges and universities with substantial support for both student aid and institutional support,” said Alicia Moore, vice president for student affairs. “COCC was able to award just over $1.4 million to students in spring and summer terms. We are now using remaining funds to support students with additional COVID-19 challenges.” 

Within hours of the COVID-19 fund online application going live, and before the college had officially publicized its existence, COCC had received several student requests for support with their pandemic-related costs. 

The college also has a variety of other resources for students with financial challenges — including for undocumented students — beyond those created by COVID-19. This includes support for utilities, transportation, food and more.

“We recognize that students face many challenges associated with the coronavirus, and we hope these funds help students with their decision about whether to return to school,” added Moore. “Our goal with all of these funds — and other support services at COCC — is to help students successfully enroll in and complete fall term classes. Ultimately, it is an investment in their long-term success.”  
Deschutes County Commissioners Award $50k to COCC’s Small Business Development Center
Last week, Deschutes County commissioners approved a $50,000 grant for Central Oregon Community College’s (COCC) Small Business Development Center (SBDC). The award, which originated from the “COVID Relief Fund” (CRF) of the federal CARES Act, is allocated for costs including advising, course development, instruction and fall term scholarships for individuals whose businesses have been impacted by the pandemic.

This award represents a huge opportunity for Central Oregon’s small business community and aspiring entrepreneurs,” said SBDC Director Ken Betschart. “Because of the pandemic, we’ve already seen a five-fold increase in the number of business owners we’ve assisted in 2020, compared to last year. This grant from the county’s commissioners will ensure we can meet the current training and advising needs of small business owners while supporting the innovative individuals in our region who are hoping to start new business ventures.”

The SBDC must spend the CRF grant by Dec. 30. For more information, including how to apply for an SBDC fall term scholarship, individuals should email sbdc@cocc.edu or call 541-383-7290.
Community Billboard / Coronavirus

Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.

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