ZipAssist is the Plug


Jake Herron

The ZipAssist desk located in the lobby of Simmons Hall.

By Réyna Pérez, Guest Writer

“I wouldn’t have been able to keep driving without the necessary repairs made to my car that ZipAssist helped me with,” one student said about ZipAssist, preferring not to be named. “My axle was bad, I had a busted tie rod in the front and a broken window in the back and more. It was hard enough to get to work, let alone school.  I didn’t know that I was able to get help for that until I remembered having heard about their services in class. So, when things got really bad, I finally went to see if they could help- and they did.”

ZipAssist, one of The University of Akron’s greatest student resources for financial support of various kinds, has a problem: no one knows about them. When asked if they knew anyone else who had used ZipAssist, the student said no, but that they constantly share information when conversations about hard times come up.

“No one knows about them! So I try to help other people out because [ZipAssist] was such a huge help for me,” the student said.

ZipAssist is a hub for all things related to UA campus resources. From tips on navigating MyAkron and important student forms on the front end, ZipAssist also includes on their site dope features like “Ballin’ On A Budget,” which is a challenge set up specifically for UA students to learn how to manage finances more effectively. Not sexy? Well, by completing challenges, students have the chance to earn gift cards. Each month, a webinar will be released, followed by a challenge and a subsequent workshop for students to participate in. After that, a newsletter will be sent to students with additional tips, tricks and resources for working with what they’ve got!

“We try to get everyone to see us for all of the programs we offer,” ZipAssist Director, Ali Doehring, said. “We are a hub of info and offer several programs, probably the most often recognized being ‘Help-A-Zip’, but we help with everything! Housing, textbooks, or even helping students navigate campus when they feel lost.”

Another way ZipAssist is getting students from acceptance to completion is through Community Resources and Emergency Assistance.  Sometimes we hit a rough patch… it is what it is. That might mean money’s getting a little tight, it might mean you can’t get out of bed some days; or know someone, maybe a friend, who fits that description at times.  

Zip Assist has resources available to help out when those bumps in the road come. Programs like Help-A-Zip, which is a referral page, either for you or someone you know, can help connect students when they need a helping hand, or someone to talk to.

The Student Emergency Financial Assistance (SEFA) grants, and other community resources which help with things like textbooks, utilities, childcare for non-traditional students and much more.  Let’s be real: if you can’t think beyond five minutes from now, the last thing you’re going to be worried about is Chem class at 11:30, if you aren’t eating, or getting your English Comp paper turned in on time.

Additionally, maybe you or someone you know has been affected by sexual misconduct, or are having some serious health issues. ZipAssist is here so that everyday things that happen to every person don’t become insurmountable problems that can cause students to fall behind in class or, worse yet, to drop out. The University of Akron wants you to succeed and ZipAssist is a major part of the help that can be provided.

ZipAssist’s goal is to empower students by providing resources, referrals, and consultation regarding ways to be successful at The University of Akron through one-on-one meetings with caring student-support professionals.

“Our goal is to help students persist and be successful, whether they’re here for a bachelor’s degree or continuing education,” Doehring said.

Additional resources that ZipAssist provides include:

  • Off-campus living assistance, being that intermediary that helps in “fostering student engagement and creating an environment on campus to enable student growth.”
  • Ready for your spring break volunteer trip? Zip Assist is now an official passport acceptance facility
  • Are you trying to gain Ohio Residency? If so, Zip Assist is able to help out with that as well. You can check out the site for more information and required forms

ZipAssist’s team of talented staff members from across campus are here to work hand-in-hand with each student. If you are aware of someone in distress, if you need help, or if you know of a student who has the intent to leave UA… please let them know!

We get it, sometimes it’s hard to ask for help, and sometimes we don’t think we need it. Don’t be afraid or ashamed, Use Zip Assist. They’re here to serve you and your needs. If you or someone you know are having a difficult time, reach out! Email them at [email protected] or call 330-972-7272 and follow them on Twitter @UAZipAssist.