The Student Emergency Fund
The Student Emergency Fund was created in 2006 to provide limited emergency financial support to currently enrolled students who are unable to meet essential expenses due to a temporary or unexpected hardship.
Between March 17 and May 11, 2020, the Student Emergency Fund served an important role as the primary resource for student support due to campus closures and COVID-19. This spring, the fund distributed $3.3 million to individual students in support that the fund has never been able to offer before; laptop computers, housing expenses, and technology support to meet the urgent needs of our students.
The Student Emergency Fund was empowered to provide this expanded emergency relief because it was an established program capable of quickly providing support to students. On May 11, 2020, Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding became available to students through Texas One Stop, resulting in two separate applications for support. The Student Emergency Fund application was temporarily closed to encourage students to apply for CARES Act emergency grants. This also allowed time to secure additional funding and review guidelines for Student Emergency Fund awards moving forward.
The expanded support provided this spring was only possible through the generosity of our community and a very generous matching pledge from the Office of the President, however the support requested far outpaced the funding available through the Student Emergency Fund.
The Student Emergency Fund is accepting requests, however federal Department of Education requirements only allow distribution of funds to students who are currently enrolled at the time of distribution. To be eligible for Student Emergency Fund awards at this time, students must be enrolled for Summer 2020. Financial assistance is based upon availability of emergency funds, and will be distributed after the start of Summer 2020.
Student Emergency Fund award amounts will range from $25 to $300 per student and will be only awarded once. Decisions regarding disbursement of funds are made on a case-by-case basis. Awards are not considered loans and do not require repayment. Some funds may be considered income and are therefore subject to federal taxes.
Types of Expenses Considered
Examples of expenses that may be considered for funding include:
- Medication/prescription expenses
- Books or school related expenses
- Replacement of belongings lost in a fire or natural disaster
- Safety-related needs (e.g. lock change, emergency shelter)
- Must be currently enrolled to apply and at the time of award distribution. Student Emergency Fund awards cannot be distributed after the last day of the semester or session.
- Must provide documentation of short-term emergency need (examples: copy of medical bill, prescription need, utility bill).
- Students who previously received Student Emergency Fund assistance are not eligible to re-apply.
- Students may be preliminarily approved for award funding after consultation with Student Emergency Services staff. Any final determination must be approved through the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid. Students must submit required documentation (screenshot of bank account balance, screenshot of the "What I Owe" page, copy of the bill being considered).
- Requests for rent payments or computers are not eligible for Student Emergency Fund awards.
Students seeking assistance during summer sessions who are not enrolled, but are registered for fall courses are encouraged to email Student Emergency Services for case management support related to their emergency needs. Student Emergency Services may be able to provide support through UT Outpost services, Austin Energy Plus 1 Program grants, and facilitating requests to community resources. For technology support, please contact Texas One Stop to discuss financial options.
- Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid – Apply for emergency loans
- Texas Global – Apply for emergency tuition and cash loans
- 2-1-1 Texas - A comprehensive list of financial and support services
The Student Emergency Fund is made possible through support from the Office of the President and the Vice President for Student Affairs, as well as the generous donations of Texas Parents, alumni, and the Austin Energy Plus 1 Program. Students, faculty, and staff also donate by participating in Party on the Plaza, 40 Hours for the Forty Acres, and the Hearts of Texas Campaign. Student groups donate to the fund, including Orange Jackets.