Help Just in Time

Regionals Student Emergency Fund

Have you ever heard the phrase, “one single moment can change everything?” On a seemingly typical afternoon in March, one single moment changed everything for a full-time student and Uber driver Ellen*.

Ellen was working and taking classes on campus. In the blink of an eye, the stay-at-home order was issued by Ohio Governor Michael DeWine, and Ellen found herself unemployed and trying to acclimate to online classes that she was unaccustomed to taking. 

Ellen was ineligible for unemployment. To make matters worse, she had no family to depend on. Even with the possibility of a stimulus check coming in a few weeks, her rent was due soon. With only $246 in savings standing between Ellen and homelessness, she fretted about how she would make ends meet. Thankfully, it would take only a few short days before Ellen would get her answer from Miami University Regionals.

Less than a week after the Governor’s order, Miami Regionals established the Student Emergency Needs Fund inviting alumni and friends to donate money in order to help students like Ellen maintain their stability and continue their studies. Donations began coming in immediately. To date, more than 90 donors have contributed $11,000.

Ellen applied to receive a share of the Student Emergency Needs Fund. While her financial needs were high, her request was modest.

“She needed more than $400 to pay her rent, utilities and buy food,” said Dr. Pete Haverkos, senior assistant dean of Student and Academic Success for Miami Regionals. “However, she said she would find a way to make her savings stretch if someone else needed the money more than she did,” Haverkos explained. “She was just so humble. Her concern for others was so genuine. Fortunately, there were enough donations within the fund to help not only her but a number of other students as well.”

The Student Emergency Needs Fund provides students with a one-time bill assistance grant of $500. In addition, students are connected to Miami University Regionals’ Financial Aid department and the Center for Social Impact to help them access additional available resources such as food assistance and funds from the CARES Act providing financial support on a state and local level.

Haverkos summed up the wider goal of the Student Emergency Needs Fund by saying, “the funds ensure students don’t have to choose between going to school or making sure their basic needs are met. Because of this funding, they can do both.”

President Greg Crawford shares a few words on the Student Emergency Needs Fund.

*Ellen is a fictitious name to protect the identity of a real Miami Regionals student in need.