Samaritan Saturday: USG starts program to waive counseling copay

By Sara Wangler, Staff Reporter

This week’s Samaritan Saturday goes to the Black Affairs Council and Undergraduate Student Government for their efforts with the USG Cares program.

This new program waives half the normal copay for students with financial issues who sign up for appointments with Counseling and Psychological Services. 

The Black Affairs Council brought up concerns of students’ mental health to USG given the state of the world and the challenges that come with being in college in general.

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USG Senator Issac Ludington said with the COVID-19 pandemic, the executive board of USG and Senator Nathan Deatrick worked to waive part of the copay for students at the Counseling and Psychological Services at SIU. 

During a normal school year, USG would host events for students, but with the pandemic those have been moved online. The funding for those events wasn’t being used, so to meet the need, USG is partially funding the program. 

“Many students are struggling right now, we didn’t want the pandemic to prevent students from getting necessary counseling,” Ludington said. 

Ludington said each student gets 10 visits each semester at the Counseling and Psychological Services center. 

“Each appointment is $10, with this bill students have $50 waived,” Ludington said. 

The program hasn’t been fully developed yet, said Ludington. 

“It’s going to be run by the Office of Student Engagement, they will work with the USG executive board to fully develop and fund this program,” Ludington said. 

The hope is to have the program available as soon as possible; Ludington said  it will definitely be finalized this semester, said Ludington. 

“It is set up in the bill that it will automatically be put before the USG every year to consider raising or lowering the dollar amount,” Ludington said. “As well as renewing it so that it’s a every year program and not just for right now.” 

Given the importance of the matter, USG has welcomed other programs at SIU to donate.

“We’ve opened up funding to umbrella organizations and other programs, as well as RSO’s to donate so it’s not just USG funding it,” Ludington said. 

Staff reporter Sara Wangler can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @sara_Wangler. To stay up to date with all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter

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