USC Upstate, United Way of the Piedmont Team Up to Help Students in Need

August 19, 2021 at 3:56 pm

The University of South Carolina Upstate and United Way of the Piedmont (UWP) have joined forces to ensure USC Upstate students who encounter financial hardship can continue their educational pursuits. Beginning this fall, USC Upstate will pilot a new version of UWP’s Community Resource Coordinator (CRC) program.

CRC, started in 2017, helps businesses and charitable organizations in the Upstate provide individuals and families with not only emergency assistance but with longer-term solutions for stability, such as affordable housing, reliable transportation, professional development and financial literacy.

Under the program, a highly trained Community Resource Coordinator is “embedded,” or housed within an organization to serve as a case manager, providing close support to individuals in need of financial coaching and access to additional resources.

“We are laser-focused on providing rigorous, career-relevant, accessible education for all citizens of the Upstate and beyond,” said USC Upstate Chancellor Bennie Harris, Ph.D.

“We are delighted with this new partnership with United Way of the Piedmont because of its potential to help USC Upstate students accomplish their educational goals, thus increasing their opportunities to attain prosperous careers, financial stability and a higher quality of life.”

“We are actively seeking ways to help our students succeed and to address the challenges they face, particularly in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Kim Jolley, interim vice chancellor for University Advancement at USC Upstate and interim executive director for USC Upstate Foundations. “CRC will provide resources that will help them remain in the classroom and on the path to earning a college degree.”

Selena Smith will serve as the CRC operating on USC Upstate’s main Spartanburg campus. From August 25 through the end of September, Smith’s office will be in Enrollment Services at the Health Education Complex (HEC). Her on-campus hours will be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesdays.

In October, Smith will transition to the Olin B. Sansbury, Jr. Campus Life Center (CLC), where she will be located in Student Affairs through the end of the semester.  

For the spring semester, Smith’s office will again be at the HEC from January through mid-February. She will then move to the CLC for the remainder of the semester.

“Community Resource Coordinators can help individuals connect to resources but also work on their long-term financial goals,” said Paige Stephenson, president and CEO of United Way of the Piedmont. “We are so excited to partner with USC Upstate to bring the CRC program to students working toward a brighter future.”

About United Way of the Piedmont

United Way of the Piedmont is a local nonprofit that fights for the education, financial stability, and health of every member of our community. Our mission is to connect, engage, and inspire people to transform our community. We are more than fundraisers. We forge unique partnerships, find new solutions to old problems, and mobilize the best resources by inspiring others to join the fight. We believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to not just survive, but to thrive. Learn more at