Graduate Student Assistance Fund


The Graduate Student Assistance Fund program is designed to assist our graduate students facing financial hardship relating to a “Qualifying Event.” 
Awards of up to $1,500 in the case of a New Child and $1,000 in the case of Medical Issues will be made, contingent upon available monies in the Fund and eligibility. $575 is available for childcare expenses for graduate employees only.
For the purposes of this program, a financial hardship is defined as an immediate and significant financial need related to a Qualifying Event which cannot be met through existing household financial resources.
A qualifying event is one of three things:
  1. A New Child-- the birth, adoption or foster care placement of a child; or
  2. (Graduate Employees Only) Childcare Expenses - Expenses incurred for childcare of a child 18 months or younger; or
  3. A Medical Issue—either pregnancy disability or prenatal care; the student’s own serious health condition; or the need to care for a spouse (or equivalent under Oregon law), child or parent who is experiencing a serious medical condition.
​NOTE: Applications must be made no later than ninety (90) days after the Qualifying Event.
Students will not be permitted to receive an Assistance Fund award associated with a Qualifying Event for which they have previously received an Assistance Fund award. The New Child and Childcare Expenses awards are available only once per child, even if both parents are graduate students.
In order to be eligible to receive an award, a student must be:
  1. Admitted to and enrolled in a master’s or doctoral degree program.
  2. Enrolled for at least three graduate credits during the term in which the Qualifying Event occurs, and in the term in which the student applies for access to the Fund-- unless the graduate student is on academic leave as a result of the Qualifying Event.  (Summer exception: For Qualifying Events and applications occurring during the summer, the student must have been enrolled for at least three graduate credits in the previous Spring term).
  3. Experiencing a Qualifying Event. See “Qualifying Event” above.
  4. In good academic standing. In determining whether a student is in good academic standing, consideration will be given to the impact of the underlying Qualifying Event and that appointment and reappointment as a GE is contingent on satisfactory academic progress;
  5. Experiencing a financial hardship arising out of a Qualifying Event. See “Financial Hardship” above.
  6. Childcare expenses are only available for Graduate Employees.
Students must not have previously received an Assistance Fund award associated with the same Qualifying Event.
Master’s students are eligible for up to two awards from this fund in the course of their academic career. Doctoral students are eligible for up to six awards from this fund in the course of their academic career. Note: Students who have met these limits may petition the Dean of the Graduate School in writing for an exception due to extraordinary circumstances. The Dean’s decision to grant such an exception is final and binding.
Awards are limited to $1,500 in the case of a New Child, $575 in the case of Childcare Expenses (Graduate Employees only), and to $1,000 in the case of a Medical Issue.
To apply, students must complete the Graduate Student Assistance Fund Application and submit the application, along with necessary supporting documentation, collated into a single PDF with your application as page 1, by email to

Applications must be made no later than ninety (90) days after the Qualifying Event.

The Dean of the Graduate School or their designee will review the application and determine whether the information submitted is sufficient to prove eligibility up to the requested amount.  Students will be informed of the decision within 10 days of their application’s receipt in the Graduate School.
If the information presented is not sufficient to prove that the graduate student is eligible for the requested amount, they may be granted a partial award or the award may be fully denied (see “Appeal” below). So long as the information is sufficient to prove eligibility and  there are monies in the fund, requests shall not be unreasonably denied.
Approximately two to three weeks after approval notification, the approved award amount will be disbursed to the UO student account (visible in Duckweb). The funds will be applied to any outstanding balance on the account. The refunded amount will be applied to the student's bank account if the student has Direct Deposit set up on the student account. 
The Fund Advisory Committee, convened by the Dean of the Graduate School, meets once per term to review the Assistance Fund and its operations, providing an annual report with recommendations to the President. The committee also reviews appeals at the request of a student whose award has been denied.
Members of the 2018-19 Fund Advisory Committee
Larissa Petrucci, Advisory Committee Chair and GE representative, Sociology
Celeste Mena, Advisory Committee Vice Chair and non-GE representative, College of Education
Lue Williams, Advisory Committee Secretary and non-GE representative, College of Education
Eli Portella, GE representative, Philosophy
Jim Brooks, Director of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships and Advisory Committee Designee of the University President
Mark Watson, Associate Dean for Research Services in the UO Libraries and Advisory Committee faculty member appointed by the Graduate Council
Jered Nagel, Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs, Graduate School and staff member appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School
Lisa Howard, Graduate School Director of Finance and Administration and Graduate School Dean's designee (ex-officio member)
Any student whose application is denied in full or in part may appeal the decision within 15 days by submitting a written request to the Graduate School (170 Susan Campbell Hall) or an email to requesting that their application and the decision be reviewed. The student will be asked to complete a waiver, allowing the Graduate Assistance Fund Committee and the Provost access to information related to their application and appeal.
The appeal will be heard at the next meeting of the Graduate Assistance Fund Committee, and the committee's recommendation shall be forwarded to the Provost for their decision, which is final and binding.
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