The Emergency Fund is a joint venture led by Student Affairs in close consultation with the Office of Financial Aid. The fund seeks to assist Grinnell students by providing financial support intended to prevent students from leaving the College for emergency financial reasons. 

Students may apply for funds when they are experiencing a financial barrier or obstacle, and have exhausted all other resources.

Emergency aid is not a substitute for financial aid. Students who are seeking funding will be required to utilize all offered financial aid resources before being awarded emergency funding.

Expenses Covered by the Emergency Fund

Examples of emergencies to be considered include, but are not limited to:

  • Emergency medical expenses, prescription eyeglasses, or essential dental work
  • Food or transportation needs
  • Travel expenses due to serious illness or death in the immediate family
  • Overdue utility bills reaching a turn-off notice
  • Homelessness or sudden loss of housing
  • Loss of childcare
  • Costs associated with ensuring completion for students identified by the Finish Line project.
  • Safety needs, including the needs of victims of domestic violence
  • Books and other essential academic expenses
  • Replacement of essential personal belongings due to fire, theft, or natural disaster

Expenses Not Covered by the Emergency Fund

  • Tuition, fees, health insurance, and study abroad costs
  • Non-essential personal bills such as: current utility, credit card, cable, cell phone, etc.
  • Parking tickets, library fines, or other expenses mistakenly incurred
  • More than one emergency request per year (grant or loan)

Eligibility Requirements

Any Grinnell student may apply for emergency funds. Each applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • Demonstrate financial hardship
  • Experience an emergency, accident, illness, or other unforeseen event among the “covered” examples above
  • Be currently enrolled as a full-time, degree-seeking student (exceptions may be made for requests related to the Finish Line project)
  • All other resources, including loans through the Office of Financial Aid, have been considered and are insufficient, unavailable, or not available in a timely manner.

Applicants must complete all questions in full and submit supporting documentation as the situation allows.

Application Process

Students in need of emergency financial assistance are encouraged to meet with a member of the Student Affairs staff, who can assist you in completing the brief application. If you don’t already have a relationship with someone in Student Affairs, you can get an appointment with Callie Frieler, Assistant Dean of Students, at 641-269-3713. You can also submit the application on your own.

Completed applications are reviewed by members of the Emergency Fund Advisory Committee, made up from a cross-departmental membership. A member of the committee will respond to emergency application submissions within 24 hours of receipt.

The maximum emergency aid allocation to a student will be $1,000 per year. Most requests range from $300–$500 depending on the situation. Generally, payment is made to vendors or another third party (e.g., landlord, medical provider, airline) and not to the student. Payment will be distributed as soon as possible but will depend upon many factors, including whether that vendor is available to the College accounts payable system. In limited cases, payment may be made directly to the student.

Funds disbursed through the Emergency Fund may affect the students’ aid package. The Emergency Fund is not a substitute for financial aid. Students who are seeking funding will be required to utilize all offered financial aid resources before being awarded emergency aid. The Office of Financial Aid will work directly with emergency aid applicants to determine the effect of the award, if any, on their aid.

Additionally, emergency funding may create a taxable event that could require reporting to the IRS by the recipient.

Giving to the Emergency Fund

Students who benefit from the Emergency Fund are deeply grateful for the support of the institution at a difficult time in their lives. The number of students benefiting from the Emergency Fund is limited to the availability of funds. Seeded by funding from the operational budget, the fund must be sustained by continual contributions from alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and friends of the College to ensure continued success. 

To contribute, please visit the Student Emergency Fund Giving Form.