On Campus Mom Foundation provides financial assistance for students of all backgrounds

The On Campus Mom Foundation provides emotional and financial support to students in need. Camryn Duffy | Photographer

By Emma Weidmann | Staff Writer

The On Campus Mom Foundation (OCM) is a Waco-based nonprofit run by Beth Dutschmann, the mother of a Baylor student, alongside her sister-in-law and a team of volunteers.

The past two years on college campuses across the country have been abnormal in several ways. With students being affected by COVID-19, rising tuition costs and more, there is a higher need than ever for an organization that can help foot some of the financial strain of being a student.

On Campus Mom began in 2019 when Dutschmann’s son was a freshman, and has grown in size ever since. The foundation has helped hundreds of students find food when their meal plan won’t cover them, find rides to the airport, pay for textbooks and bring food and medicine to students in quarantine.

“Many students struggle financially and they go without things that we take for granted — three meals a day — or maybe some of the smaller things, like a cup of coffee from Starbucks,” Dutschmann said. “They have to sacrifice because their families back home are sacrificing and scraping to keep their students at Baylor.”

Dutschmann said while religion is never pushed on any student, The OCM Foundation is motivated by her own Christian faith as she strives to create a community that will pay it forward once they’re able to go the distance at Baylor.

“It comes from the heart,” Dutschmann said. “It comes from being led by Jesus.”

Springfield, Mo., freshman Blake Degner worked for the entirety of the most recent Christmas break, but when it came time to buy textbooks for the spring, was still finding it hard to keep up with the costs. Textbooks are a notorious source of stress for college students since prices are high and unpredictable.

“Any textbooks or expenses here in Waco come out of my pocket,” Degner said. “When I was told about this program, I just had to reach out.”

Degner said The OCM Foundation covered the entire cost of his textbooks for the spring 2022 semester, a bill of nearly $400.

The OCM Foundation isn’t just for students from a low socioeconomic background. Even students who come from financially secure backgrounds or cannot take loans or financial assistance are never turned away. Essentially, no student is left behind.

“There aren’t many instances of people coming to your help like that,” Degner said. “With a lot of scholarships, you have to be from a certain background or fit a certain criteria to get that. With OCM, it was pure of heart. It was out of kindness. The only requirement was that I explain to them how it would help me.”

Dutschmann said she tells students her only request when they ask how to repay her is that when they graduate and become successful, the students will remember the kindness shown to them and pay it forward when they see someone in need.

“It’s about doing unto others as you would have done to you. It’s about being kind. It’s about service above self,” Dutschmann said.