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Student Care and Advocacy assists students with financial issues and connects students to resources around the University. Our office tries to ensure that students are aware of deadlines, procedures, and resources that will help preserve their financial stability. 

However, when students experience a personal crisis or an emergency, they may be overwhelmed by the circumstances of the situation and need short-term financial assistance.

Student Emergency Fund

Recognizing that unforeseen financial emergencies will occur for students, Penn State established the Student Emergency Fund to help meet the immediate needs of students experiencing crisis situations.

How does the fund work?

Funds are intended to provide short-term financial assistance to students who are managing demanding academic requirements while struggling with debilitating financial circumstances of an unforeseen nature. Provided in the form of one-time awards, emergency funding is not intended to provide ongoing relief for recurring expenses.

These awards are not loans that students are expected to repay and every request for financial relief will be reviewed on its individual merits. The value of the awards ranges based on a student's specific needs but typically does not exceed $1,000.

Who is eligible for assistance? 

Students from any Penn State campus location are eligible to request emergency funds. Students must meet the following criteria:

  • Be currently enrolled full-time in an undergraduate, graduate, or professional degree-seeking program
  • Demonstrate financial hardship due to emergency, accident, illness, or other unforeseen events
  • Consider (or have exhausted) alternative funding options for assistance. These may include emergency loans through academic departments, student aid, or other university sources
  • Meet with a case manager in the Student Care and Advocacy office to discuss their circumstances and, if applicable, to provide supporting documentation

How can these funds be used?

Examples of why emergency funds might be provided to students include:

  • To minimize immediate critical needs of students caused by acute financial stress
  • To provide for short-term financial assistance with unusual or unforeseen medical expenses
  • To provide support for temporary housing and/or other essential needs such as food, due to displacement by fire or other unforeseen environmental hazards
  • To support shelter for a student in a dangerous situation due to acts of violence or other victimization
  • To fund travel or transportation of a student or a student's belongings home due to family emergency, crisis, or death

Will my information be shared?

Information about the student or their circumstances will only be shared with third parties who have a legitimate need to be informed of the student’s information and are positioned to help the student, and only at the explicit request or permission of the student seeking emergency funding support.

In rare cases, awards from the Student Emergency Fund may impact the amount of aid that a student receives from other sources – most often by reducing the amount of student or parent educational loans. However, this only occurs if a student is already receiving financial aid up to their total cost of attendance for the semester awarded.