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An SAS Fund Supports Students Facing Financial Challenges

In Tough Economic Times, Dean's Emergency Fund is Source of Hope

 SAS Deans Emergency Fund

Over the course of three decades, the SAS Dean’s Emergency Fund has been helping students who have exhausted their financial resources yet still need help paying for books, term bills, and basic living expenses. The number of students needing assistance surged during the Great Recession, and the need is rising again during Covid-19 pandemic. The fund is supported completely through contributions from donors.

The students profiled below excelled in their studies, participated in campus life, and worked side jobs to make ends meet. The emergency fund provided the small boost that made all the difference. “When I heard I was approved for a grant, I just burst into tears,” Ismelisa Rivas said. “It was like a huge weight had been lifted.”


  • Studying Public Health to Empower Women

    Natasha Merrits entered Rutgers poised to excel. An aspiring physician, Merrits was a Rutgers Future Scholar and the salutatorian of her class at the New Brunswick Health Science Technology High School, graduating with 4.386 GPA. But in her first year she took on a punishing work schedule and sustained a tragic loss.

  • An Entrepreneurial Flair and a Will to Succeed

    When college seniors graduate and receive their degrees, this step toward adulthood is heralded as a commencement. For Rutgers University students like Ismelisa Rivas, the responsibilities of adulthood began much earlier. “I have been on my own since I was 18,” says Rivas, of Paterson.

  • A Passion for Writing, and a Strong Sense of Mission

    When Rutgers closed campus housing due to the coronavirus, Luna Laliberte faced some tough choices. Learning to work through such crises has been part of her college experience. “People tell me that it must be stressful, but this has been my life,” she said.


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