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Community Resources & Emergency Assistance

Emergency financial assistance bannerWe understand that unexpected financial emergencies can happen as a college student - ZipAssist is here to help in any way we can! Please use our site to learn more about potential ways in which our office as well as additional campus resources here at the University of Akron could be of benefit to you.

Submit a Help-A-Zip Referral

If you've recently experienced an unexpected emergency, are in distress, or have intent to leave UA, or know a student who may benefit from our services, please complete a Help-A-Zip referral. Once received, a member of our staff will work one-on-one with the student to ensure they’re successful.

I know a student who needs help

I need help

Help-A-Zip assists students who:

  • Exhibit concerns
    • Academic - missed assignments; poor grades on exams, assignments and projects; repeated absences from class, etc.
    • Mental health - depression, anxiety, substance dependence, etc.
    • Personal/social - relationships, social contentedness, roommate compatibility, homesickness, etc.
  • Need emergency financial assistance - experiencing an unexpected financial hardship
    • Textbook assistance
    • Financial aid/tuition - FAFSA, financial account holds, grants/loans
    • Chromebook, hotspot, webcam 

About Help-a-Zip

What happens when a Help-a-Zip referral is made?

Have direct questions about these services? Contact:

Alison Doehring
Director, ZipAssist

Other sources for assistance

Call the University of Akron Police Department at any hour at 330-972-2911 or 9-1-1.

UA's Counseling and Testing Center is available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Call 330-972-7082.

You have several options:

  • UA Police: Available 24/7 at 330-972-2911
  • UA Title IX team: Trained UA staff and faculty that can answer your questions about reporting sexual misconduct
  • Rape Crisis Center of Medina and Summit Counties: Employees work directly with UA students. The center provides crisis intervention, support, advocacy and other resources to survivors of sexual assault. The center’s 24-hour hotline is 330-434-RAPE. The center has an office on campus in Room 246 of the Student Recreation & Wellness Center. Call the campus office at 330-972-6328 during normal business hours.

About confidentiality

It is most important for students to know that Mike and the Rape Crisis Center employees are committed to supporting individuals who have experienced sexual violence, but they have different responsibilities as it relates to confidentiality when it comes to reporting an incident. 

Here’s what you need to know about how federal and state regulations define reporting responsibilities:

  • Conversations with the Deputy Title IX Coordinator, are kept as confidential as possible, but information about sexual misconduct incidents must be shared with relevant administrators (and in the case of sexual assault, with law enforcement), so that the university can take any action necessary to protect the safety of the campus community and to comply with Ohio’s crime reporting laws.
  • If a person indicates a desire to report a sexual assault to any UA employee, that employee should advise the person about her/his applicable reporting obligations and available confidential resources. A UA employee may have an obligation to report sexual misconduct to law enforcement or a Title IX Coordinator. See more information about reporting obligations.
  • Confidential resources on campus available to sexual assault survivors are licensed counselors at UA’s Counseling and Testing Center (330-972-7082) or licensed health professionals at Student Health Services (330-972-7808). 
  • The team at the Rape Crisis Center are not employees of UA, and do not have the same reporting obligations as University employees. A sexual assault survivor who reaches out to the center can remain anonymous. 

Anyone who has experienced sexual assault does not have to file a formal complaint to receive assistance, but will receive information about all of her/his options to keep themselves and the campus safe. All efforts will be made to respect the privacy wishes of victims of sexual assault; however, the university must balance all requests for privacy/confidentiality with the need to provide a safe learning and working environment for all.

We prepared to help any students through the difficult course of actions that are required to recover from a sexual assault.


The CARE Team is a University organization that provides guidance and assistance to students who are experiencing crises, displaying odd or unusual behaviors, or are engaging in other behaviors that may be perceived as being harmful (either to the student individually, or to others). CARE stands for Crisis, Assessment, Referral and Evaluation

The CARE Team accepts referrals and responds to students (and their families, faculty, and staff) when concerns for a student’s health, welfare, and safety are identified.

The CARE Team also supports members of the University community who interact with at-risk students by assessing and evaluating situations, communicating with individuals involved or impacted by a student’s behavior, and providing referrals and resources to assist and address behavioral concerns.

Make a CARE Team referral

Student Health Services provides health care on campus to enrolled students. Appointments are requested. Call 330-972-7808.

Student Health Services is located in the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, Suite 260, 382 Carroll St. Akron, OH 44325-1101.

Visit the Health Services website.

Emergencies after hours

When Student Health Services is closed, students needing immediate medical attention for acute illnesses or injuries may seek care at Akron City Hospital or Cleveland Clinic Akron General. Fees for hospital treatment and/or ambulance transport, if needed, are the responsibility of the student.

See healthcare facilities offering evening and weekend hours within the greater Akron community.

Mental Health information:

The Well Beings campaign created a Mental Health Language Guide.

Suicide prevention:

More than 50 percent of college students admit to having suicidal thoughts at some point in their lives.

Typical reasons for college students to attempt suicide include relief from physical or emotional pain, after a relationship break-up, or due to academic struggles. Suicide is preventable. Get help for you or a friend.

Get help now

Alcoholics Anonomous

Call to find a drug rehab 800-839-1686 or visit


What happens when a Help-a-Zip referral is made?

Direct questions about these services to:

Alison Doehring
Director, ZipAssist

330-972-6467 or

Eligibility & Details

Student Emergency Financial Assistance

The Student Emergency Financial Assistance [SEFA] program, previously supported by the Ascendium Education Group – Dash Emergency Grant, provides critical support to at-risk students needing to overcome financial obstacles in order to persist at The University of Akron.

Financial aid, grants, and scholarships aim at helping low-income students overcome financial barriers to enroll in college.  But once enrolled, unexpected financial emergencies can force these students into making tough choices – leaving college, at times, is seen as the only option.

Students who meet the eligibility criteria can receive up to $1,000 during their lifetime enrollment as a student for non-tuition related emergency need. University staff will work hand-in-hand with these students to make award determinations and contact third-party entities to arrange needed payments.

Below are some answers to the most commonly asked questions regarding the SEFA program.

In short, we define "financial emergency" as an unforeseen expense that, if not resolved quickly, could lead to the student's departure from college and loss of momentum toward completion.

The goal of the Student Emergency Financial Assistance program is to assist eligible students who are experiencing temporary financial hardships and to provide assistance to students so they can focus on continuing their academic pursuits.

The program supports sudden, urgent, or unforeseen occurrences that require immediate attention and would impact a student's ability to stay enrolled at The University of Akron. Funds are not available for tuition or other regular expenses related to enrollment at the University. Additionally, financial assistance cannot be used to retroactively pay for expenses taking place prior to the first day of the semester.

This program provides assistance to students at risk of dropping out of college due to unexpected financial emergencies. This Fund is aimed at helping students stay in college and meet their educational goals, ultimately, securing a better financial future for themselves.

This program is aimed at supporting low-income undergraduate students facing unforeseen financial emergencies. Low-income is defined as an Expected Family Contribution [EFC] of $7,000 of less. In order to be considered for assistance, the student must also have a 2.0 cumulative GPA and be seen as in "good standing" with the University. The students must also be able to provide supportive documentation of the financial emergency. Other considerations include financial aid refund, Cost of Attendance, etc.

The Student Emergency Financial Assistance program can provide assistance to eligible students who are experiencing temporary financial hardship for non-tuition related expenses. These are expenses that are seen as "unexpected financial emergencies" not related to enrollment at the University.

  • Childcare
  • Food/Meals
  • Gas
  • Housing/Rent
  • Medical/Dental Expenses
  • Personal Automobile Expenses
  • Utilities

If you are unsure if your financial emergency will qualify for this program, please submit a referral anyway! Even if this fund is unable to assist you, our staff will work diligently to see how we can best help you be successful.

We define "financial emergency" as an unforeseen expense that, if not resolved quickly, could lead to the student’s departure from college and loss of momentum toward completion.

  • Alcohol
  • Books
  • Entertainment Expenses
  • Fees
  • Legal Fees
  • Tobacco
  • Tuition

In order to refer a student, or refer yourself for assistance, please use the "Help-A-Zip" referral application found on this webpage. In order to best determine eligibility for the Student Emergency Financial Assistance program, please upload and attach supportive documentation to show expenses – this also helps to explain the unexpected financial emergency for the ZipAssist staff. Please include the Student ID for the student (if possible) to help expedite the process.

Funds will be directly paid to the third party vendor, as documented and provided by the student, associated with the bill or expense. By check or VISA, the University will directly work with the third party vendor for payment arrangements.

Students who meet the eligibility criteria can receive up to $1,000 during their lifetime enrollment as a student for non-tuition related emergency need.

Our goal is to work with students directly in order to expedite assistance and financial relief. Once the "Help-A-Zip" submission is completed, a member of the ZipAssist team is notified and can take action on a request. After reviewing this request, and determining eligibility, the student will be asked to meet in-person with ZipAssist staff in order to complete all needed paperwork and to facilitate a payment. It is our goal to provide financial relief within a few business days for those hardships which qualify for the Student Emergency Financial Assistance program.

A team of staff within ZipAssist are trained on the various policies associated with this program and other financial support mechanisms on campus. Through the approval of this team, arrangements will be made for all granted financial emergencies that meet the guidelines of the Student Emergency Financial Assistance program. Once eligibility is determined, the student will be asked to meet in-person with ZipAssist staff in order to complete all needed paperwork and to facilitate a payment. Ideally, our team will work to ensure the financial burden, of those items which qualify, is alleviated within two business days of a referral and meeting.

Use the "Help-A-Zip" referral form found on this webpage in order to refer yourself or others to the ZipAssist team. From personal problems and academic issues to other financial concerns, our goal is to help you persist here at The University of Akron! Our team of staff members from across campus are here to work hand-in-hand with you in order to see you be successful while at The University of Akron.

For immediate assistance, please call (330) 972-7272. By completing the "Help-A-Zip" referral form, your request will also be generated to the ZipAssist team for review and outreach.

Community Resources

ZipAssist has partnered with local agencies in Summit County in order to offer a number of resources and programs to assist our students at the University of Akron.

The Salvation Army

The_Salvation_Army.svgZipAssist and The Salvation Army of Summit County have partnered to offer financial relief, social services, and immediate assistance to students in need.

Resources available for:

  • Textbooks
  • Payment Plans
  • Utility assistance (gas & electric)
  • Food pantry (off-campus)
  • Childcare (18 months to 12 years)
  • Emergency travel
  • Vision exams

Contact Information:

A representative from The Salvation Army of Summit County is available in Simmons Hall every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday during the fall and spring semesters.

Make an appointment by reaching out to, or stop in to Simmons Hall Suite 120 for immediate assistance.

United Way of Summit County

Through United Way, the City of Akron has launched a community-wide Financial Empowerment Program. As a partner of the program, the University of Akron is now home to a Financial Empowerment Center offered to its students beginning in the fall of 2018. Students have free access to an on-site financial coach every Wednesday from 9:00am-4:00pm at Simmons Hall. 

The Financial Coaching will focus on:

  • Credit Score Improvement
  • Debt Reduction
  • Increased Saving and Asset Building
  • Banking Access

Make an appointment by reaching out to  

2-1-1 Infoline: Summit County

In order to offer students an extensive and up-to-date list of all available community resources, we have teamed up with   2-1-1 Infoline of Summit County. Their database contains all the details of local services and programs for those in need, and is updated in real time. For anything from clothing, to housing, to medical assistance, students can follow the link below to connect with hundreds of local agencies and programs.