Support students

Support students

College of Health

Supporting students has never been more crucial. You can support students' experiential learning, give to a scholarship or fellowship fund, and more.

In order to tackle the health challenges of tomorrow, and to meet the world’s demand for public health graduates, we must train future generations of health professionals to be rooted in community engagement and research and to prioritize lifelong health.

The College of Health is home to passionate, intellectually curious students from all backgrounds. Surrounded by a community of motivated, hardworking peers and supported by world-leading faculty with research and outreach expertise, our students grow their passions into purposeful careers that make a difference in Oregon and around the world.

Working side by side with faculty researchers on solutions to challenges of global proportions, our students develop knowledge and experience that prepares them to take on our greatest challenges to health, including policies that affect our ability to be healthy over our lifespans, such as through equitable access to safe and healthy food, physical activity opportunities, medical care and health education.

To broaden the paths of opportunity and prepare students to be future leaders in public health and human sciences, the college is focusing on two giving priorities:

  • Ensure career readiness for all students by increasing opportunities for experiential learning and community engagement
  • Recruit, retain and graduate purpose-driven students, especially those who are also the first generation in their family to attend college or who demonstrate financial need

Experiential learning

Experiential, or experience-based, learning has a profound impact on students’ education by enriching their coursework and helping them develop new skills, make connections in their field, and grow in confidence through student organizations, research, internships, leadership development and global experiences. These opportunities prepare our students to be globally aware leaders and problem solvers and also help increase graduation rates, cultural awareness, lifelong success and personal and career fulfillment.  

In the College of Health, we know that our students are driven by responding to pressing issues and solving problems. There is no better way to ensure our students go on to lead successful, fulfilling careers with significant impact than by guiding them through hands-on service to communities and cutting-edge research projects. However, not all students can afford these opportunities or the time away from paid work that they may require.

Donors can expand access to experiential learning opportunities and propel critical research forward by helping to fund fellowship and research assistantships, internships and service-learning opportunities. These positions empower graduate and undergraduate students to gain the financial means necessary to achieve their academic goals, bolster their professional reputation as scholars and problems-solvers and place them side by side with faculty on leading discoveries and impactful outreach projects.

Similar positions are very often paid in other fields – but in public health and human sciences, a paid internship is rare. Donors can take a leading role in bridging this gap for future generations of public health and human sciences students.

To ensure that every student leaves Oregon State prepared for a satisfying and impactful career, we seek commitments that will increase opportunities for experiential learning.

Fellowships help research thrive

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of family and community relationships and the connections to work and family care, as well as the inequalities that unfold in the intersections of families, work, care and policies.

There is an immediate need for evidence-based research to help policymakers make informed decisions about these issues and to educate families and communities about solutions. The College of Health was able to respond rapidly to many of these issues in part due to graduate student fellowships.

Consider Brenda Barrett-Rivera, the Cheryl J. Lutz Family Policy Fellow at the Hallie E. Ford Center for Healthy Children and Families. Working with the Family Policy Group, she quickly developed a policy brief titled “Oregon COVID-19 child care policy changes and family well-being.” It will be used as researchers and policymakers wrestle with the effects of the pandemic on Oregon’s children and families.

Additionally, within this first year of the fellowship, Brenda worked closely with Associate Professor David Rothwell on a grant application that received $500,000 in funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for a five-year project about paid family leave and family self-sufficiency in Oregon.

Return on investment has never been greater or more immediate. Fellowships are investments that pay dividends for years to come, supporting all three parts of OSU’s teaching, research and outreach mission and making a remarkable difference on society’s most pressing issues.

Student access and success

The College of Health attracts diverse students with a deep commitment to improving the quality of life for others.

To ensure access and meet our students where they are, we offer several programs 100 percent online through OSU Ecampus.

In 2024, for the 10th consecutive year, OSU earned a top-10 national ranking from U.S. News & World Report based on the quality of its online bachelor’s degree programs. Oregon State ranked No. 4 in the annual report and is the only institution in the nation — public or private — to place in the top 10 each of the previous 10 years.

Still, the financial burden of higher education is often too great, whether students are studying online or in person. In OSU’s 2018 Transitions and Advising Survey, 70 percent of respondents said they believe that finances may interfere with their ability to graduate from OSU. That same year, over 50 percent of incoming first-year students reported being blindsided by the cost of attending.

Because of this financial reality, scholarships offer the most effective means of supporting students through graduation. Scholarships make a remarkable difference in the lives of current and future students, as well as the future of our field:

Supporting our students when they need it most

This includes first-year undergraduate students, students with registration holds on their accounts due to unpaid fees and students experiencing short-term financial emergencies. These students are most likely to begin their programs here and leave without graduating because they cannot afford to stay. A scholarship or fellowship could be the difference between them achieving their potential or not.

Expanding financial support for transfer and Ecampus students

Transfer students account for 31 percent of public health and human sciences students, and many have significant financial need, with 47 percent qualifying for Pell grants. Similarly, more than half of our Ecampus students are eligible for Pell grants. Additionally, both transfer students and Ecampus students are likely to be attending school while working full time. However, they often lack access to some of the scholarships other students have.

Scholarships help ensure that students from all backgrounds have access to public health and human sciences education — and that they can finish their degrees without significant or lasting financial hardship.