Student Care & Emergency Response Fund

Combating economic insecurity through a compassionate community.

Student Care & Emergency Response Fund

Combating economic insecurity through a compassionate community.

Even when financial aid covers tuition expenses, students are often left to cover the cost of housing, food, utilities, books/academic expenses, and other necessities. Many students work to cover living expenses, but living on a tight budget or encountering unforeseen expenses can threaten their ability to remain in school and graduate. An unexpected car repair, an unbudgeted textbook purchase, a smaller than usual paycheck due to illness - these everyday situations force students in economically precarious circumstances to make difficult choices and can derail a student’s goal of earning a university degree.

The Student Care & Emergency Response Fund (SCERF) provides financial resources for students. Students encountering difficulty meet with a Dean of Students Office staff member and explore a range of support services, including the possibility of receiving a “microgrant.”

The process for applying for and receiving emergency funding is straightforward and expeditious. While not all funding requests can be fully met, the goal is to provide maximum possible aid to every student in need. During the Fall, 2018 semester the Microgrant Committee awarded over $5200 in grants. The average grant is between $300 and $500.

Through your generosity, students with financial need will receive immediate support, allowing them to stay in school, remain focused on academic success, and graduate.  When it comes to the Student Care & Emergency Response Fund, no contribution is too small. All of the money you contribute will go directly to students in need.

Over the past year, we have been able to help more than 40 students in need because of gifts. Every student who has received these funds has been incredibly grateful. Here are just a few of their stories.

When Rebecca, a Nutrition major, encountered an emergency at the start of the semester, these funds provided her some much needed financial support.

This grant allowed me to afford a meal plan in some of my hardest financial and academic times. Within the first weeks of coming to school, I was in a panic as to how I'd be able to afford food and when I'd even get the time to go grocery shopping which distracted me greatly from my schoolwork and extracurricular activities. With this grant, I don't have to worry anymore about where my next meal will come from or how to pay for it. I'm extremely fortunate to have received this grant and cannot express my gratitude. 

When Irma, a senior Marketing major, faced unexpected financial hardships, these funds were a source of relief for her.

Having the chance to be helped and supported by programs like this has given me enthusiasm and motivation to continue my education when everything just seemed difficult and impossible. It has provided me with great relief at hard times. I’m thankful for all the assistance I have obtained and as a student I can say that it feels awesome to know you have a place to go when you’re struggling in your financial life.

Jess, a senior, says how grateful she is for the help she received.

Having struggled in the past with not being able to afford to eat often and healthily enough on campus, I know how much stress it can add to someone's day-to-day life when they aren't sure when they'll be able to have their next decent meal. The support from this grant has helped me afford meals and groceries for my last semester here at UMass before I graduate, which has already be a very stressful time on its own. I'm extremely grateful to everyone involved in helping me receive the grant. Now I can be confident that after or during a long day of studies I'll be able to take a break at some point to get food and get my energy back up. I can't thank you enough.

Students seeking more information about the Student Care & Emergency Response Fund and other University support services should contact the Dean of Students Office at 413-545-2684.


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