Graduate Student Emergency Fund Program Guidelines
Revised: August 2021
The intent of the Graduate Student Emergency Fund is to provide financial assistance to degree-seeking graduate students who, due to circumstances beyond their control, have suffered an unforeseen, acute, and temporary crisis that causes a financial hardship. The fund supports the needs of full-time graduate students who are enrolled and registered at the time of the request or during fall and spring semesters if the request is made during a summer term in which the student is not registered. Full-time status is nine hours per semester during the academic year and six hours during the summer semester. The fund cannot be used to support a student before enrollment and registration or beyond graduation.
AWARD AMOUNT: Applicants may apply for up to $2,000 per request for a maximum of $4,000 per fiscal year. The reason for subsequent requests must be different from the previous request. The lifetime maximum students may receive is $6,000.
AWARD PROCESSING PROCEDURE: When the award is processed, the funds are first applied to any outstanding balance in the awardee’s student account. The funds are awarded as a scholarship, through financial aid, even though they are considered “emergency assistance”. If the awardee has direct deposit set up with Student Accounts, the award will be deposited into that account. If not, a check will be mailed to the awardee’s permanent address.
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 was caused by an unforeseen, acute emergency situation.
Documentation verifying the emergency situation must be submitted at the time of application (e.g. copy of utility bills, rent invoices, notices of job loss, etc.). Applicants 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 as part of the application review. Failure to provide this documentation may result in denial of assistance.
The Graduate Student Emergency Fund Review Committee will review submitted application, with the appropriate supporting documentation, 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 attempts are made to support as many students as possible with emergency funding, it is not always possible to grant every request or to award 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 the applicant receives federal aid, OSFA must ensure that Cost of Attendance (COA) has not been met or that you the applicant is eligible for a COA increase. Applicants may contact a financial aid counselor at (706) 542-6147 prior to completing the application to check their 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.
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 unforeseen, acute 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 at 706-542-5375.
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 an overaward. 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 (OSFA) is contacted to review the student’s COA to determine 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. Contact OSFA at OSFA@uga.edu or (706) 542-6147 with questions about COA adjustments.
What should I do if I receive the COA increase?
Email confirmation of COA increase from OSFA to 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, the applicant is 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, with the appropriate supporting documentation, 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.
How long does it take to receive the funds?
The awardee should receive the award funds in their student account within approximately 10 business days from the date on the award letter.