Graduate Student Emergency Fund Program Guidelines
Revised: May 2020
The intent of the Graduate Student Emergency Fund is to provide limited, one-time financial assistance, up to $2,000, to enrolled degree-seeking graduate students who, due to circumstances beyond their control, have suffered a temporary crisis. The fund supports the needs of current UGA students. Unfortunately, it cannot be used to support a student before enrollment or beyond graduation.
Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19): Due to the impact of COVID-19 on our community, students who have previously received assistance from the Graduate Student Emergency Fund will be allowed to apply again to cover needs associated with the outbreak.
APPLICATION PROCESS: The Graduate Student Emergency Fund application must be completed and submitted by the student in GradStatus. The applicant must demonstrate, in the “Situation” section of the application, that the need is not an ongoing financial hardship and that the financial assistance will help solve the existing problem.
Documentation verifying the emergency situation must be submitted at the time of application (e.g. copy of a police report or medical records). Students should also submit any receipts or estimates for necessary items or services, reflecting the amount being requested from the fund. Students who are applying due to loss of employment must include their Unemployment Insurance Benefit Determination Letter, if eligible, or if they are not eligible for unemployment benefits, they must submit evidence of job loss. Applicants may be required to provide additional information or take further steps as part of the application review. Failure to provide this documentation may result in a denial of assistance.
The Graduate Student Emergency Fund Review Committee will review submitted applications and make a determination within three business days. However, there are several levels of verification and processing, as applications must also pass through Financial Aid and Student Accounts. The complete approval process may take five to seven business days, and after issuance of the award letter, it may take another five to seven business days for the funds to be issued to the student. During the review process, the student may be contacted by Student Care and Outreach to provide information regarding additional, non-financial, resources at UGA that may be of support. A listing of campus hardship resources is available here.
Due to certain federal guidelines, this program takes existing financial aid into consideration in determining any award. While we attempt to support as many students as possible with emergency funding, we are not able to grant every request or always offer the full amount requested.
FINANCIAL AID REVIEW: The Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) https://osfa.uga.edu/ is a part of the application review process. If you receive federal aid, OSFA must ensure that you have not met the Cost of Attendance (COA) or that you are eligible for a COA increase. You may contact a financial aid counselor at (706) 542-6147 prior to completing your application to check your COA status.
ELIGIBLE EXPENSES: Typical expenses that will be considered due to unforeseen circumstances include, but are not limited to:
- Replacement of essential personal belonging due to natural disaster, fire, theft, etc.;
- Travel costs related to a death or serious illness in the immediate family ($100 per month for up to one semester for gasoline);
- Personal safety needs (e.g. changing a lock);
- Books or other essential academic expenses;
- Medications or other health-related costs; and
- Rent, utilities, or other essential household expenses.
ELIGIBLE EXPENSES RELATED TO COVID-19: Typical expenses incurred by graduate students as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic also include, but are not limited to:
- Groceries ($250 per month);
- Moving expenses; and
- Other essential expenses related to self-isolation, sheltering in place, or quarantine.
The Graduate School is currently considering COVID-related requests in two month increments.
INELIGIBLE EXPENSES: Ineligible expenses include, but are not limited to:
- Tuition and fees;
- Fees for conferences;
- Long-term medical expenses;
- New or replacement expense for a computer (See Laptop Loaner Program)
- Expenses caused by long-term unemployment or underemployment; and
- Expenses related to green cards, student visas, or similar immigration documents.
Have temporary financial hardship resulting from an emergency situation.
- Students who are eligible for federal financial aid must not have met Cost of Attendance (COA) as determined by the Office of Student Financial Aid.
- Be able to provide sufficient documentation of financial hardship with application (i.e., copy of utility bills, rent invoices, notices of job loss, etc.).
Application Submission Deadline:
Contact Karen Young, Grants Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on Monday, Thursday, and Friday at 706-542-5375 and on Tuesday and Wednesday at 678-985-6788.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is Cost of Attendance considered for the emergency fund?
Under federal regulations, the assistance from the Graduate School’s Emergency Fund program must be considered as a part of educational expenses. Receiving more aid than the student’s financial need or the Cost of Attendance (COA), may result in anoveraward. Overawards must be resolved and may result in funds being returned to an aid program and/or a student owing the university money. The intent of the Graduate School Emergency Fund is for the student to receive funds to cover their emergency expense, not to repay aid that has been received. Consequently, when the total of all aid received by the student exceeds the student’s COA or need, it is suggested that the Office of Student Financial Aid is contacted to review the student’s COA to see if they have incurred any school related expenses that are not reflected in their COA. If the COA can be increased, the student may be eligible for additional scholarship funding. If you have any questions about COA adjustments, please reach out to OSFA at OSFA@uga.edu or (706)542-6147.
What should I do if I receive the COA increase?
Contact Karen Young (email@example.com) as soon as possible to continue the review process.
If I am not eligible for a COA increase, am I still eligible for the emergency fund?
If a COA increase is not approved, you are not eligible for funding from the emergency fund.
How long does it take for the request to be approved?
The Graduate Student Emergency Fund Review Committee will review submitted applications andmake a determination within three business days. However, there are several levels of verification and processing, as applications must also pass through Financial Aid and Student Accounts. The complete approval process may take five to seven business days, and after issuance of the award letter, it may take another five to seven business days for the funds to be issued to the student.
How long does it take to receive the funds?
An applicant should receive funds in their student account within approximately 10 business days from the date on the award letter.