My Simmons

SOS Emergency Fund

What is the SOS Fund?

The SOS Fund is a collection of donations from staff, faculty, students, alumni, student organizations, Board of Trustees members, and community friends that was created to assist students in urgent and unavoidable expenses due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding for the SOS Fund is limited.

What is taken into consideration when determining student needs and fund allocation?

Each student submits a description of their current situation, needs, and requested funding as it relates to these needs. The types of needs supported include:

  • Housing insecurity (e.g. help with rent) – see the FAQ about rent for more information
  • Food/Grocery insecurity
  • Medical or mental health care costs (e.g. a bill for an ER visit or co-pays)
  • Utilities (cell phone*, electricity, water)
    *this does not include bills covering smartwatches or other non-phone devices

The committee is also taking into account student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and previous financial aid history. If your overall financial need has changed, please reach out to Student Financial Services to inform them.

What needs cannot be met by the SOS Fund?

  • This fund does not cover tuition costs or non-urgent expenses.
  • Balances, bills, and technology costs from before March 2020 are not covered by this fund.
  • Any requests for more than $500 may require additional time and consideration.

How much rent support can the SOS Fund provide?

Because the SOS Fund is limited, we are unable to cover students’ rent in its entirety. Please make note of the following limits in how much rent support the SOS Fund can provide:

  • Amount of support – we can provide limited support with rent and often are unable to cover an entire month’s rent.
  • Recurrent support – we are unable to support students’ rent long-term. As such, we encourage students who request rent support multiple times to meet with a Student Affairs staff member to explore sustainable options.

Will I need to pay back the funds that I receive?

No, this funding does not have to be paid back to the institution.

How much money should I expect?

As much as we would like to meet the needs of every student each time they need support, the SOS funding is limited. The average grant is between $300-$500 per student. The amount allocated for a student is based on the urgent needs disclosed by the student.

What if I need more aid later? Is there a limit to how much funding I can receive?

Students can re-apply for funding if their needs continue, but please keep in mind that the SOS Fund is limited. At the moment, we are setting maximum amounts of allocations for each semester and are “resetting” each semester. This means that if you reached the maximum amount of funding in a previous semester, you would be eligible to reapply this semester.

If you have reached the maximum amount of funding that you can receive from the SOS Fund for the current semester, we encourage you to meet with staff from the Office of Student Affairs to explore more sustainable and reliable resources such as SNAP (food stamps), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), rent assistance, and more.

How long will it take to receive funds?

The process will take one to three weeks, depending on

  1. Whether we require additional information from you
  2. Whether you request a large amount of funding, especially an amount in excess of $500
  3. Whether you are set up for direct deposit by the time your funds are ready. Instructions for setting up direct deposit can be found at the Student Financial Services website under ‘Direct Deposit Student FAQ.’

What do I need to do to prepare in order to receive the funds? And what is the process of receiving funds?

Step 1: Please ensure your direct deposit is set up and up to date.*
For instructions on signing up for direct deposit, please visit the Student Financial Services website and refer to the section entitled ‘Direct Deposit Student FAQ.’

*If you already receive direct deposit for your financial aid refund, there is no additional action needed.

*Please note that being set up in Workday is not the same as direct deposit for financial aid.

Step 2: Email of Awarded Amount
Once you receive an email from the SOS committee on your awarded amount, you should see the amount reflected in your Simmons account that week. You will then see that amount drop from your account. This means that the funding was sent to your bank. It will take an additional 3-5 business days for your bank to post the amount in your account. Please be patient and do not assume that the amount was taken away from you.

What if I have a balance on my account? Will the funding go toward my balance?

No, we have worked with billing to have your SOS funding be sent to you directly. If you choose to use that funding for your balance, that will be your choice. We believe the SOS funding should be used for what you believe is your most urgent need.

Why have I been asked for a meeting to provide additional information?

If your request asked for more than the average amount, mentioned non-urgent needs, or did not have enough detail, you will be asked to meet with Student Affairs staff. Instead of rejecting your application or waiting until other needs are met, we would like to meet with you to gather more information and explore other resources, as well.

If you asked for an amount over $300, we suggest considering what your most urgent expense is and communicating that with the SOS team, either in the meeting or via email.

What if my needs change and I no longer need funding?

Please let us know if you no longer need funding, as this will help us provide the funding to another student in need. We understand that needs change often, and you still have the option to request aid later if needed.

What else should I know?

Please remember that many students are deeply impacted and that the fund is limited. We can only work on the most urgent needs of our community. The SOS Fund application can be accessed here. Please review all additional options and resources, as well. Please be patient and know that we are doing the best we can to address every student’s request. Additional questions can be sent to [email protected].