Financial Well-being Resources

Students walk together and smile on campusWe make every effort to support students’ financial well-being—the ability to successfully manage expenses and meet short- and long- term financial goals within an established budget and current resources. At times, students experience unanticipated situations or face difficult circumstances that interfere with their financial well-being and academic success. This website serves a resource to students and families for initiatives and information to enhance students’ financial well-being.

Professional staff throughout campus are also available to assist with access to emergency resources and support for financial emergencies, food or housing insecurity, emotional hardship, or any concerns that impact a student's well-being.

Residence Life & Housing

Amanda Downey

Director Residence Life and Housing, adowney@rwu.edu

Student Life staff

Debbie Knapman

Director Student and Family Assistance, dknapman@rwu.edu

Financial Aid

Diane Usher (she/her/hers)

Director of Financial Aid, dusher@rwu.edu

QTRAC (Queer and Trans Resource and Advocacy Center)

Jamie Wire

Assistant Director of Queer and Trans Student Initiatives, jwire@rwu.edu

Intercultural Center

Michael Walsh

Director for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, mwalsh@rwu.edu

International Students

Ryan Monahan

Senior Advisor for International Student and Scholar Services, rmonahan@rwu.edu

•    Emergency Funds
•    Financial Aid, Scholarships, fellowships and grants
•    Food resources
•    Housing assistance  
•    Student Employment
•    Financial Management Resources
•    Basic Needs Community Resources

Tony Montefusco Student Emergency Funding 

Upon the departure of Associate Dean/Director of Residence Life and Housing Tony Montefusco, who had served ϲ for 26 years, a student emergency fund was created in his name. This fund is designed to assist students facing unanticipated and compelling circumstances that interfere with their ability to continue or thrive at ϲ.

Tony donated his last paycheck to start the fund. With additional contributions from faculty, staff, and friends of the University, limited financial support is available to students for emergencies, special programs, test prep, supplies, and books. These funds do not have to be repaid but the University hopes that one day when a beneficiary of this support is in a position to pay this forward, they will. Currently enrolled students may apply for funds when they have exhausted all other resources. Consider making a contribution to the student emergency fund to support students' ability to thrive at ϲ!

Making a Request for Emergency Funds 

If you are experiencing unexpected financial difficulty that is impacting your ability to thrive at ϲ, complete the .

Factors reviewed when considering awards:
•    Whether a student is on financial aid (most funds are restricted for students on aid)
•    Whether a student is eligible for aid that has not been utilized
•    Whether a student has previously received support from these funds
•    Documentation of the hardship/circumstances
•    Extenuating or specific circumstances

Demand will likely exceed available funding, and in most cases these monies will not cover the entire cost of an event or emergency. These funds are not a replacement for financial aid, and are intended to cover incidental and unexpected expenses of modest amounts that a student demonstrates they are financially unable to meet. Additionally, requesting and/or receiving emergency funds will not affect a student’s annual financial aid award.

Examples of the types of assistance students may request

(Requests for emergency assistance are not limited to those on this list):

•    Urgent medical expenses or urgent dental expenses not covered by insurance
•    Eyeglass replacement; contact lenses
•    Hearing aids
•    Replacement of essential personal items or temporary housing needs due to natural disaster or theft
•    Text book assistance
•    Unexpected course supplies
•    Emergency or unexpected necessary travel (includes bus, train, car and air; emergency travel; transportation to and from job or internship interviews)
•    Test prep courses (GREs, LSAT, MCAT)
•    Winter boots (up to $75.00)
•    Winter coat (up to $100.00)

Expenses Not Covered by the Emergency Fund

•    Tuition, fees or study abroad costs
•    Fixed expenses: utilities, rent, credit card, cable, or cell phone bills
•    Parking tickets, library fines, or similarly preventable expenses

Notification requests are considered within five days of submission. Students will be contacted by a staff member in the Division of Student Life to discuss individual requests. Emergency requests may be considered more immediately. Once notified, students will work with staff from the Division of Student Life to ascertain the quickest and easiest way to meet the approved financial request.

Contact Student Life if you require a response because of an immediate emergency financial need: rwustudentlife@rwu.edu

Food Resources 

Food insecurity describes the state of being without reliable access to sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. We’ve developed some initiatives to support students who may experience food insecurity. ϲ initiatives to support students with access to food are below. Additional community resources are listed in the Basic Needs Community Resources section.

Swipe It Forward  

Swipe It Forward

The Swipe It Forward program was developed to allow board plan students to donate one guest pass meal and/or one regular meal per semester to students in need.

Gifted passes will be removed from the students’ account and added to a “donation account” available for approved requests throughout the academic year. To request a block of meals, please email your confidential request to Director of Student and Family Assistance Debbie Knapman, at dknapman@rwu.edu, or Director for Student Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Michael Walsh at mwalsh@rwu.edu.  Please include your student ID # and name.

Community Kitchen

image of ϲ Intercultural Center's Community KitchenThe Intercultural Center houses a full kitchen that is available to all members of the ϲ community throughout the day to create a personal meal or one to share. Food in the kitchen is available to everyone, unless otherwise noted. Fresh coffee, tea, hot chocolate and other beverages are complimentary. Limited nonperishable items are also available on the lower level. Community members are encouraged to contribute to the supplies. Everyone is responsible for cleaning up after themselves.

is a state program that provides a monthly benefit, via an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card, that can be used at retail and grocery stores or farmers' markets to purchase food. College students can qualify for SNAP based on a broad list of exceptions, assuming they meet the SNAP income and asset criteria.

Emergency Housing Assistance 

If a student is in a crisis situation and in need of short-term housing assistance, they can contact Amanda Downey, Director of Residence Life and Housing, adowney@rwu.edu 401-254-3161, to set up a meeting to discuss available temporary on-campus housing options. In addition, a member of the Division of Student Life will work with the student to assist in exploring longer term housing strategies.

Financial Management 

Staff in the ϲ financial aid office are available to explore financial pathways to support your educational goals. Whether your circumstances have changed or you have questions or concerns, contact the financial aid office to explore your options.

Scholarship and Aid Information

  • provides extensive information about federal financial aid and loans, including tips for completing the FAFSA, defining financial aid terms and managing student loan repayment options.
  • - The state of Rhode Island provides financial assistance for former foster youth seeking a full-time post-secondary credential. The student must enroll in the program by the age of 21 and funding is provided through the age of 23. Recipients must have been in foster care before their 18th birthday for at least 24 months or in care between 16-18.

Financial Educational Resources

  • (NEFE) is a nonprofit foundation providing financial education and tools for people at all stages of life, from pre-college through post-retirement. They sponsor , a free budgeting and financial planning tool designed specifically for students, and a free, unbiased resource where you can find in-depth personal finance courses, articles, calculators and tips to assist with money management.
  • The (CFPB) was established by Congress, and works to promote financial education and enforce consumer financial protection laws. The CFPB also provides a wealth of information for college students including student loan repayment and planning for college expenses.
  • MyMoney.gov is sponsored by the Federal Financial Literacy and Education Commission. Made up of more than 20 Federal entities, its purpose is to help strengthen American’s financial capability and increase access to financial services. The website covers five major financial principles: earning, saving & investing, spending, protecting, and borrowing.
  • - Improve your financial future by gaining a better understanding of a broad range of personal finance topics, including creating a budget, saving for retirement, and using credit wisely.

Note: Roger Williams University's commitment to assisting students and families in developing financial literacy is a critical aspect of students’ education.

The resources provided on this website are for general educational purposes only, and is not intended to substitute for the advice of your investment, legal, and/or tax advisors or to be the basis of specific financial planning activities.

The links to third-party financial resources are provided as a convenience for informational purposes only.  No Roger Williams University staff members endorse or approve any of the products, services or opinions of the entities or individuals associated with these links.  Roger Williams University bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of any external site associated with the links provided or any subsequent links.

Basic Needs Community Resources 


532 Wood Street, Bristol; 401-396-9490
Serves anyone in need of food assistance who lives in the East Bay. This includes the towns of Barrington, Bristol, East Providence, Little Compton, Middletown, Newport, Portsmouth, Tiverton, and Warren.


55 Turner Avenue, East Providence, RI 02915; 401-433-0045


19 Valley Road, Middletown, RI 02842, 401-847-2021
A 24-hour emergency and transitional shelter for families and their children who are homeless due to economic hardship, family crisis, eviction and shortage of safe, affordable housing.


Locations throughout RI
Provides high-quality, comprehensive and accessible health and human services to assist people to achieve their fullest potential.


10 Ct. St., Bristol, RI 02809, 401-253-4831
Serves low and moderate-income individuals and families with basic needs assistance such as heating and utility payment referrals, food, and limited rental assistance.


Louis Pasteur Building, 25 Howard Ave., Cranston, RI 02920, 401-462-2121
Provides a critical safety net and other supportive services needed for Rhode Island residents to thrive. Provides access to the federal program (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

 - Provides a wide range of social services in Providence

Low income energy assistance programs (LIHEAP)

  • (Bristol, Barrington, East Providence, Warren, Newport, Middletown, Tiverton, Little Compton, Portsmouth and Jamestown)