Graduate Student Assistance Fund

About the 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.

Maximum award amounts are capped and are determined by the nature of the qualifying event.

Availability and size of awards is contingent upon the amount of available monies in the fund, as well as applicants’ meeting the eligibility requirements.

Financial Hardship

For the purposes of this program, 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.

Qualifying Event

For purposes of accessing this fund, a qualifying event is one of three things:

  1. New Child: The addition of a child to the student’s household whether through birth, adoption, or foster care placement. Maximum award $1,500.

  2. Medical Issue: The student experiences a recent and serious setback to their own health condition, or the sudden need to provide care for a spouse (or equivalent under Oregon law), child, or parent who is experiencing a serious medical condition. Maximum award $1,000.

  3. Childcare Expenses: A student with a GE appointment incurs expenses for care of a child aged 18 months or younger. (Note: only Graduate Employees may qualify for childcare assistance). Maximum award $575.

Applications must be made no later than ninety (90) days after the qualifying event.

Award Eligibility

In order to be eligible to receive a Graduate Student Assistance Fund award, a student must be:

  1. Admitted to and enrolled in a master’s or doctoral degree program at the University of Oregon.

  2. Enrolled for at least 3 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. 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 graduate employee is contingent on satisfactory academic progress.

  4. Experiencing a qualifying event.

  5. Experiencing financial hardship arising out of the qualifying event.

  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.

Award Limits

Awards are limited to:

  • $1,500 in the case of a new child
  • $575 in the case of childcare expenses (graduate employees only)
  • $1,000 in the case of a medical issue

One award per 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.

Master’s students are eligible to receive up to 2 awards from this fund in the course of their academic career. Doctoral students are eligible to receive up to 6 awards from this fund in the course of their academic career.

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.

How to Apply

To apply, students must complete the Graduate Student Assistance Fund Application and document their qualifying event via the appropriate certification form.

Applications must be made no later than 90 days after the qualifying event.

Please collate all documents into a single PDF with your application as the first page, then submit as a single attachment to Marcia Walker.

Application Forms

Review and Decision

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 by 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.

As long as the documentation proves eligibility and there are sufficient monies in the fund, requests shall not be unreasonably denied.

Appeals Process

Any student whose application is denied in full or in part may appeal the decision within 15 days by submitting a written request in person to the Graduate School or by email to Marcia Walker 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 to access information related to their application and appeal.

The appeal will be heard at the next meeting of the Graduate Assistance Fund Committee. The committee's recommendation shall be forwarded to the provost for their decision, which is final and binding.

Disbursement of Award Funds

Approximately 2–3 weeks after approval notification, the approved award amount will be disbursed to the UO student account (visible in Duckweb).

The award funds first will be applied to meet any outstanding balance on the student’s 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.

Fund Advisory Committee

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 2018-2019 Fund Advisory Committee

Larissa Petrucci
Advisory Committee Chair
GE Representative

Celeste Mena
Advisory Committee Vice Chair
Non-GE Representative
College of Education

Lue Williams
Advisory Committee Secretary
Non-GE Representative
College of Education

Eli Portella
GE Representative

Jim Brooks
Director of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships
Advisory Committee Designee of the President

Mark Watson
Associate Dean for Research Services in the UO Libraries
Advisory Committee faculty member appointed by the Graduate Council

Jered Nagel
Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs
Graduate School Staff Member Appointed by the Graduate School Dean

Lisa Howard
Graduate School Director of Finance and Administration
Graduate School Dean's Designee (Ex-Officio Member)