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Washington State Community College consolidates student services

MARIETTA — Washington State Community College has consolidated its student services to one area of campus in an effort to take the stress out of enrollment and ultimately strengthen student success.

The new centralized space, called the Student OneStop, houses admissions, College Credit Plus, financial aid, records, and the business office.

“The Student OneStop provides personalized support at the initial contact entry phases of enrollment,” explained WSCC President Dr. Vicky Wood. “Our frontline staff, called Student Support Specialists, establish a personal connection with prospective students and serve as the single point of contact while they navigate the enrollment process.”

Due to research that links students’ overall success to efficient support services, one-stop student service centers can be found in institutions of higher education across the country.

“This is a practical change that will enhance the student experience,” said Wood.

For more than a decade WSCC has served a student population that was predominately traditional — direct from high school as well as College Credit Plus high school students.

However, the college’s goal is to increase enrollment of students over the age of 25, known as adult learners.

“We know there are a significant number of adults in our community who would benefit from higher education, particularly those who would be first-generation college students.”

She also pointed out that 44 percent of WSCC’s students live in poverty.

“Working adults face many barriers and don’t have time to waste navigating the enrollment process. The Student OneStop is about simplifying processes and removing barriers while providing a positive enrollment experience.”

The new service center is supported by cross-trained Student Support Specialists who provide student assistance with all phases of enrollment. This new style of customer service eliminated the previous process that involved students bouncing from one department to another to receive answers to questions.

“The same friendly face will help you apply for financial aid, register for classes, and assist you with paying your account balance,” said Wood. “We want to make a personal connection with every student and potential student who comes through the doors.”

Wood explained that the new OneStop is the second phase in the school’s guided pathway work. It is patterned after the improvements made to the Center for Student Success which was revamped to centralize mid-stream support of tutoring, transfer assistance, mentoring, and mental health counseling.

“The Student OneStop is aimed at providing personalized support at the critical entry phase. This is all part of our college-wide guided pathways initiative that will result in improved student access to college and their success,” said Wood.

The college is also developing updated delivery models, expanding credential offerings, and improving career services.

“While we still have more work to do, we are seeing evidence of success because every day we are changing the lives of students and helping our community prosper,” said Wood.

The Student OneStop is located on the top of the hill across from the WSCC Carson K. Miller Library, which houses the Center for Student Success and the Barnes & Noble bookstore.

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