Emergency Fund for Students

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 supplemental financial support for unanticipated, temporary, and nonrecurring costs, and is intended to prevent students from leaving the College for emergency financial reasons, generally related to accidents, illness, or the death of a family member.

Students may apply for funds when they have exhausted all other resources, including student loans. Priority is given to students in the highest financial need tier. Funds disbursed through the Emergency Fund may affect the students’ aid package. The Office of Financial Aid will work directly with emergency aid applicants to determine the effect of the award, if any, on their aid.

Expenses Covered by the Emergency Fund

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

  • emergency medical, vision, and dental expenses
  • travel expenses due to serious illness or death in the immediate family
  • 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
  • support for temporary housing and/or other essential needs due to displacement by fire or other unforeseen environmental hazard

Expenses Not Covered by the Emergency Fund

  • tuition, fees, health insurance, and study abroad costs
  • food, housing, books, and non-essential personal bills such as current utility, credit card, cable, cell phone, etc.
  • parking tickets, library fines, or other expenses mistakenly incurred or preventable expenses 
  • funds for the replacement of lost or stolen items
  • computer replacement 
  • alcohol and drug related offenses, fines, and court fees/penalties
  • fees related to immigration benefits

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must meet the following criteria for approval:

  • demonstrate high level of financial need
  • experience an emergency, accident, illness, or another 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 and student employment through the Office of Financial Aid, have been considered and are insufficient, unavailable, or not available in a timely manner

Application Process

Students in need of emergency financial assistance are encouraged to meet with a member of the Student Affairs staff who can assist them in completing the brief application. Students who don’t already have a relationship with someone in student affairs can get an appointment with Megan Baldree, assistant dean of students, at 641-269-3700 or, for medical expenses, Alexis Steele, manager of SHAW operations at 641-269-3230. Students can also submit the application on their own.

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

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.

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.

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