The faculty and staff of Oregon Coast Community College have been awed by the resilience and spirit shown by OCCC students during this most-unusual Spring term.

“For those graduating in June, as you might imagine, commencement will be different than any in the history of our College,” said Birgitte Ryslinge, President of OCCC. “We’d like to thank those students who participated in the student survey that sought ideas and opinions about how OCCC should celebrate this year’s event.”

Students have been asked to watch their student email accounts and the College website for additional information in the days and weeks to come. Planning is ongoing, but there are some firm details already about the Oregon Coast Community College 2020 commencement ceremony.

The event will be held at its previously scheduled date and time, 6 p.m. Friday, June 12.

Instead of taking place at the Newport Performing Arts Center, the event will be live-streamed to students, their families, and friends. College faculty and administrators, along with members of OCCC’s elected Board of Education, will participate live from home or from the commons at the Central County Campus in Newport, a space large enough to allow for rigorous social distancing measures and safeguards. The event will be recorded and shared with the public afterwards, via the College’s YouTube channel or website.

The College has reached out to all its graduating students via email to request photographs, as the presentation will feature a slideshow featuring images of every graduate. More details are available on the OCCC website, Just search “commencement.”

For additional information, call Oregon Coast Community College at 541-867-8501.

College plans distribution of CARES Act funds

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law on March 27, created a Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. The fund provides resources to institutions to make possible emergency financial aid grants to students whose lives have been disrupted, many of whom are facing financial challenges and struggling to make ends meet.

Students cannot apply for assistance directly from the U.S. Department of Education instead work with their institutions for further information and guidance.

Oregon Coast Community College and other institutions have the responsibility of determining how grants will be distributed to students, how the amount of each student grant is calculated, and the development of any instructions or directions that are provided to students about the grant.

OCCC received an allocation of $92,000 through the CARES Act.

The College will distribute those funds to eligible students during the current Spring term (40%), the Summer 2020 term (20%), and the Fall 2020 term (40%).

The College created a committee to craft a distribution methodology to deliver the funds in a way that met the greatest need. The committee was headed up by Chris Ousley, Interim Dean of Students.

In lieu of an institutional aid application or additional documentation as allowed by the U.S. Dept. of Education, OCCC uses a student’s completed FAFSA as evidence of eligibility. To be eligible, students must be eligible to receive Federal Financial Aid funds, must be admitted to the College, must have completed a high school diploma or GED, must be making satisfactory academic progress, and must be enrolled in credit courses at the beginning of week two of the academic term. Unless they are new students, they must also have been enrolled in on-campus courses in the previous academic term.

Per-student awards will differ by term. This distribution formula’s per-student allocations are proportional to the number of eligible students in each term and available funds.

The committee elected to base allocations on both the number of classes and the level of enrollment (credits).

“This is a new program and we anticipate some students will have questions about the program,” Ousley said. “Our team will be working with eligible students individually and answering questions as they arise.”

Students with questions are invited to call 541-867-8501 or email

Oregon Coast Community College serves students and the broader Lincoln County community through its facilities in Newport, Lincoln City, and Waldport. Explore the College’s website, at, to learn more. The College, founded in 1987, is independently accredited through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Follow OCCC on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter @occcsharks, online at, or call the College at 541-867-8501.


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