Emergency fund to help students stay in school

Abby Taylor

Online Content Editor

The Wilson-Williams Emergency Fund, started by Troy alumni Jerry and Mary Williams, is intended to help students in an emergency financial situation.

Students facing emergency medical situations, housing expenses, emergency transportation repairs and any other temporary need that would stop a student from being able to attend school are eligible for the emergency fund.

“It’s not a long-term funding for someone who needs help with tuition and books,” Jerry Williams said. “This is for that bump in a road that a student hits to help them get over that and continue their education.”

Williams said he previously served as the Alumni Affairs president, where he saw a need to raise the graduation rate.

“We’re (alumni) all about scholarships and how we can get students to the university,” Williams said.

Williams said that minor setbacks cause students to leave school, and he and his wife wanted to change that.

“A young lady working her way through school lives off campus, has her own car — she goes to work, goes to school and comes home,” he said. “If something happens to that car and she doesn’t have enough money in savings, then she can’t make it to work or school.”

The fund was approved on March 29, 2017, and distribution of the fund started fall semester of 2017.

A committee made up of Dean of Student Services Herbert Reeves, University Police Chief John McCall and Director of Student Involvement Barbara Patterson assesses applicants’ emergency financial needs.

“What we envisioned was a safety net,” Williams said. “Something that after all other resources were depleted, that this would keep a student in school.”

The committee has 48 hours to decide if the student is approved for emergency funding, and if the student is approved, a check is made to where the emergency funding is needed.

“We (committee) will not pay an individual student,” Reeves said.

Reeves said the money is not given directly to students so the committee will know the money is being used appropriately.

According to the application, “Funds will be available to any Troy University, Troy campus student, with preference given to working students, military veterans and students who have a parent who works in law enforcement.”

The emergency fund has funded three students who lost everything in a house fire and two students who could not pay rent.

Reeves said there are two students pending approval for the fund.

Reeves said the students who use the fund are encouraged to pay back what they received when they can to help students in need.

“We’re (emergency fund committee) asking if they can at least pay a portion of it back, but it’s not required,” Reeves said.

Students can visit the student services office to request an application for the emergency fund.

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