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.

Effective November 30, 2020 through June 14, 2021, Graduate Employees may submit applications for the additional qualifying events described under Temporary Qualifying Events. This temporary expansion is made pursuant to the Letter of Agreement signed by the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation and the University of Oregon on November 30, 2020.

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.


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

Qualifying Events

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

  • New Child: The addition of a child to the student’s household whether through birth, adoption, or foster care placement. Maximum award $1,500.
  • 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.
  • Childcare Expenses: A student with a GE appointment incurs expenses for care of a child during the first seven (7) years of the child's life or during the first seven (7) years following an adoption. (Note: only Graduate Employees may qualify for childcare assistance). Maximum award $700. This assistance may be used once per academic year per child.

Temporary Qualifying Events (effective November 30, 2020 – June 14, 2021)

The following temporary expanded qualifying events are available to Graduate Employees pursuant to the Letter of Agreement between the GTFF and the UO:

  • Childcare Expenses – Expanded: A student with a GE appointment incurs expenses for care of a child during the first twelve (12) years of the child's life or during the first twelve (12) years following an adoption. Maximum award $1000. This assistance may be used once per academic year per child. (This is an expansion of the childcare expense event and not an additional award – the maximum award amount for childcare expenses is $1000)
  • Loss of Income Caused by COVID-19 Related Absences: Awards for GEs who have lost income due to a COVID-19 related quarantine or isolation. GEs must exhaust sick leave (including any COVID-19 related leave) first. This assistance is available up to two times and requires documentation that the GE has exhausted leave and is in a required isolation or quarantine period. Awards will match the amount of lost compensation up to maximum of $300.
  • COVID-19 Related Work Expenditures: Awards for GEs who have had new or increased expenses that are caused by COVID-19 directly tied to their work and who have been working remotely through AY 20-21. These costs must be new (post-April 2020), must be costs that would not otherwise have been incurred but for COVID-19 and related to the GEs work. Documentation of the costs are required. Maximum award of $50.
  • Guaranteed Funding Extension Visa Expenditures: GEs who are international students that received an extension of guaranteed funding pursuant to the Letter of Agreement may apply to the fund for additional visa expenditures caused by their extension in funding. Maximum award of $370

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.This assistance may be used once per academic year per child for documented childcare during the first seven (7) years of the child's life or during the first seven (7) years following an adoption.

  7. The temporary qualifying events are only available for graduate employees.

Students must not have previously received an assistance fund award associated with the same qualifying event with the exception of childcare expenses.


Award Limits

Awards are limited to:

  • $1,500 in the case of a new child. Available only once per child, even if both parents are graduate students.
  • $700 in the case of childcare expenses (graduate employees only). This assistance may be used once per academic year per child for documented childcare during the first seven (7) years of the child's life or during the first seven (7) years following an adoption.
  • $1,000 in the case of a medical issue

For the temporary qualifying events, awards are limited to:

  • $1000 in the case of childcare expenses-expanded. This assistance may be used once per academic year per child for documented childcare during the first twelve (12) years of the child's life or during the first twelve (12) years following an adoption. (This is an expansion of the childcare expense event and not an additional award – the maximum award amount for childcare expenses is $1000)
  • $300 in the case of loss of income caused by COVID related absence
  • $50 in the case of COVID-19 related work expenditures
  • $370 in the case of guaranteed funding extension visa expenditures

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 with the exception of childcare expenses.

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 email as a single attachment to gradsch@uoregon.edu.

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 gradsch@uoregon.edu 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 2020-21 Fund Advisory Committee

Liz Glenn
GE Representative

Mike Hudak
GE Representative

Wemimo Ayannubi
Non-GE Representative

Tracy Blue        
Non-GE Representative

 

                                                                                                           

Jim Brooks
Associate Vice President, Director of Financial Aid
Advisory Committee Designee of the President

Mark Watson
Interim Dean of 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