Student Emergency Fund

What is the Student Emergency Fund?

UAlbany’s Student Emergency Fund supports undergraduate and graduate students who experience an unforeseen financial hardship or emergency, so they can stay on track toward graduation.

The fund is made possible by more than 1,000 donations from faculty, staff, alumni, families and our wider community. More than 1,100 grants have been awarded to UAlbany students.

The Student Emergency Fund (SEF) began with a generous three-year grant from the Heckscher Foundation for Children and the Gerstner Family Foundation. The program was piloted on seven SUNY campuses, with support from the SUNY Impact Foundation. Though the grant has ended, the SEF continues to assist students facing emergency circumstances. 


Application Guidelines

The Student Emergency Fund is closed for Summer 2024. We will reopen for Fall 2024 applications on Tuesday, September 3, 2024.

Please read all guidelines before you apply. Applications that lack all required information will not be reviewed.

Applying for a grant does not guarantee you will be awarded a grant, as we have a finite amount of funding available and receive many applications.


Student Emergency Fund grants are designed to assist students facing an emergency event that may otherwise result in those students leaving school. The fund cannot help students with chronic financial issues.

All applications are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Examples of eligible emergencies include: 

  • An apartment or house fire 

  • A parent or guardian dying or becoming seriously ill 

  • A parent or guardian losing their job 

  • A medical dental bill not covered by insurance 

Students may only receive one Student Emergency Fund grant per academic year. Applicants who have received a grant in previous academic years are scrutinized more closely.

Grants cannot be used to pay for any of the following:

  • Tuition and/or fees

  • Study guides and/or homework websites

  • Laptops and/or computers

  • Books — unless the student is seeking to replace books lost due to damage or theft and can prove those circumstances by submitting documentation

  • Credit card bills

  • Cable television and/or pay channels

  • Luxury items, including rents in excess of customary

  • Expenses that support a student’s family residence, including rent or mortgage payments at a permanent address if the student does not live there while in school

  • Gaps between a student’s financial aid award and their expected family contribution (EFC) as determined by FAFSA

  • Expenses that don’t directly support the student’s education

  • Auto expenses that are unrelated to travel for the student's education

Grant Amount

Applicants are asked to identify a dollar amount when describing various needs, such as food, housing, transportation, etc.

The maximum grant amount is $2,000 — although the maximum is only granted in rare circumstances.

Applications that request funds above $2,000 will be denied.


All applicants must submit documentation supporting their requests, such as:

  • Documentation of the Emergency Event: Applicants must provide documentation of the emergency that caused their financial shortfall. Examples include a police report, layoff notice, obituary, etc.

  • Actual Bills: Applicants who are requesting funds to cover bills (such as utility bills) must submit PDFs or screenshots of the actual bills. Screenshots of payment portals will not be accepted.

  • Signed Leases: Applicants who are requesting funds to cover rent must include a PDF or screenshot of their lease. Please also confirm who a rent check should be addressed to and where it should be mailed.

  • Actual Estimates: Applicants who are requesting funds for medical, dental or auto repair work must include PDFs or screenshots of actual estimates from the healthcare provider or auto repair company.

Financial Aid

All applicants (except international students) must have a completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) filed for this academic year before they submit their Student Emergency Fund application.

Students who have access to federal student loans will be asked to first use those funds to resolve their emergency.

Visit the Financial Aid website for additional information on FAFSA and student loans.

Once you’ve reviewed the guidelines above and collected your necessary documentation, you’re ready to complete and submit the Student Emergency Fund Application. You must read all guidelines listed above before applying.


Additional Support