Emergency Fund Program

UPDATE (August 24, 2020): The Emergency Fund Program is officially open for the Fall 2020 semester. All full-time graduate students who have paid the $100 Student Services Fee will be eligible. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.

COVID-19 Policy: If your emergency is specifically related to COVID-19 (such as housing or food insecurity), please visit the COVID-19 page on the Office for Student Basic Needs website for relevant information, programs, and support (https://studentbasicneeds.usc.edu/resources/covid-19/). Financial resources are also available through individual schools and Student Affairs. Grants awarded over Summer 2020 will not count towards funding limit of $700 per student per academic year.

Note: If this is your first time applying for any of the GSG grant programs (Travel Grants, Childcare Subsidy, Emergency Fund), you will need to create an account on our online portal using your USC email.

1. Program Overview

The Graduate Student Government Emergency Fund program is designed to help students with unforeseen expenses arising from a crisis and quickly address financial setbacks. 

 The funding limit is $700 per student per academic year.

This fund is intended to have flexible review criteria. The following list is not exhaustive, but provides example circumstances that applicants might face:

  • DACA/visa renewal fees
  • Sudden significant medical expenses
  • Asylum legal fees for those who have faced or fear persecution based on religion or sexual orientation, among other criteria, if they return to their country origin
  • Legal and/or health fees for victims of sexual assault and violence

2. Eligibility

Applicants must be full-time graduate students in good standing with the University. For most students, full-time status is being enrolled in 6 or more units. However, this definition may change depending on your program (i.e. doctoral programs). Post-doctoral fellows, undergraduates, and part-time students are not eligible.

For emergencies related to COVID-19, applicants should instead reach out to the USC Basic Needs office for support (https://studentbasicneeds.usc.edu/resources/covid-19/).

3. Application Process

Applications can be submitted at any time and will be reviewed on a rolling basis by a committee of graduate students. Applicants can expect a response within 2 weeks of submitting their application. Applications must be submitted through our online portal. To submit through our online portal, you will first need to set up an account on our portal using your USC NetID and password. 

All applicants must provide the following items to be reviewed:

  1. Personal statement describing nature of emergency and justification for requested funds (<1 page)
  2. Letter of support from any staff or faculty in applicant’s department on official University letterhead verifying that you are a current USC graduate student in good academic standing and are experiencing a financial hardship.*
  3. Funding details – if requesting reimbursement, provide all relevant receipts; if requesting funds for future expenses, provide budget outlining anticipated costs

*If you are unable to provide a letter of support from someone in your department, please email the GSG Director of Campus Affairs at gsgcamp@usc.edu. We will work with you to develop an alternative plan on a case-by-case basis.

4. Review

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis by a committee of graduate students. Applicants can expect a response within 2 weeks of submitting their application.

5. Funding

Disbursement of funds is determined on a case-by-case basis. Most recipients can expect the award to be paid in a single lump-sum grant. If the award would adversely impact Financial Aid packages, we will work with the Office of Financial Aid to develop a solution. If you are an international student living outside the U.S., your award may be subject to taxes. 

6. Additional Resources

In addition to the GSG Emergency Fund, we have compiled a list of additional resources at USC that may be of assistance during your emergency. You may consider reaching out to:

Campus Departments

Office of International Services (Division of Student Affairs)

Office of Religious Life (Office of the Provost)

Immigration Clinic (Gould School of Law)

Office of Financial Aid (Admissions and Planning)

Counseling & Mental Health Services (Student Health Center)

Counseling Services & Crisis Intervention (USC Safety)

Campus Support & Intervention (Campus Wellbeing and Crisis Intervention)

Center for Work and Family Life

Policy and Research Centers

Office of International Research

Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences)

The Tomas Rivera Policy Institute (USC Price School of Public Policy)

Click here to start your application.