Yanez: Are you a nontraditional student? UO has your back

The Non-Traditional Student Union office is a resource for all non-traditional students located in room 212 in the EMU. (Billy Manggala/Emerald)

Have you heard of a nontraditional student before? Perhaps you’ve overheard the Nontraditional Student Union booth during the Flock Party talking to such students often referred to as “Nontrads.” If you’re like many of the students on campus you might be one and not even know it. According to the Dean of Students website, you may be a nontraditional student if you:

  • Are over the age of 24 at the time you begin working toward your first bachelor’s degree
  • Are married, divorced, or partnered
  • Work full-time
  • Have children and/or family members to support
  • Are returning to or starting college after a break
  • Are changing careers
  • Are a veteran of the armed forces
  • Have independent financial status
  • Have transfer admission status

With the struggles of rising tuition, a changing labor market and with a family no longer being widely viewed as something that would keep you from college, a lot of us are considered nontraditional students. Because of this, the UO provides a lot of resources to support these students. If you’re a veteran, there’s the Student Veterans Center in the EMU. Nontraditional students also have several scholarships available to them, such as the Osher Re-Entry Scholarship for nontrads who return to college after taking a break. There are even houses and apartment complexes intended for nontraditional students. University family housing is often one of the best deals for nontraditional students looking for housing near campus.

For student parents, the best resource available for nontraditional students is the ASUO Child Care Subsidy. While there are three child care centers on campus, one of them being on-site at Spencer View Apartments, the child care subsidy is what allows most students to even make their education possible. I’ve spoken with several student parents about how the subsidy has helped them in their education and some of them revealed that the subsidy literally saved them financially. As a student parent, there have been several instances where I would not have been able to afford to

Part of what makes the child care subsidy so great is that it covers up to 50 percent of childcare costs. For those who are unaware of the high costs of childcare, it costs $85 per week for my daughter to be at the Co-op Family Center just on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The rate for Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays would cost $131 per week. Full time, which is Monday through Friday, would cost $183 per week. Monthly, that’s anywhere between $340 and $732 before the child care subsidy. That’s not even including any additional fees that may be incurred. For example, if your child isn’t potty trained, there’s a diaper fee.

After reading this, if you find that you are a nontraditional student, I encourage you to connect with the Nontraditional Student Union on OrgSync. They host events where you can mingle amongst other student families or nontraditional students. If you’re a student parent and you haven’t checked out university family housing options, you might find an option that’s better suited for your needs. One of the perks of living in family housing is the community of students who are in a similar situation as you. The same could be said about the Veterans Center in the EMU. If you’re a student looking to change careers, but aren’t exactly sure what you want to change to, check out Oregon CIS to explore various career options.

If you don’t fall into the veteran, married, divorced or student parent classifications of nontraditional students, the UO has your back. While there may not be a student organization for those with independent financial status, the Nontraditional Student Union is still a great resource for anyone who can be classified as a nontrad. Every time I have spoken with the staff, I have always felt like I would always have someone fighting for me in my corner if life as a nontrad ever got to be too difficult. So even if you’re unsure about whether or not you’re a nontrad, drop by the Nontraditional Student Union located in the EMU Room 212.

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