Graduate Student Assistance Fund

About the Graduate Student Assistance Fund

The Graduate Student Assistance Fund program is designed to assist our graduate students facing financial hardship relating to a qualifying event.

Maximum award amounts are capped and are determined by the nature of the qualifying event.

Availability and size of awards is contingent upon the amount of available funds, and the applicants’ meeting fund eligibility requirements (and applicants meeting fund).

Financial Hardship

For the purposes of this program, financial hardship is defined as an immediate and significant financial need related to a qualifying event which cannot be met through existing household financial resources.

Qualifying Events

A qualifying event for which graduate students may apply for this fund includes ONE of the following events:

  • New Child: The addition of a child to the student’s household whether by birth, adoption, or foster care placement. Maximum award $1,500 per child, even if both parents are graduate students.
  • Medical Issue: The student experiences a recent and serious setback to their health, or the sudden need to provide care for a spouse (or equivalent under Oregon law), child, or parent who is experiencing a serious medical condition. Maximum award $1,000.
  • Childcare Expenses: A student with a GE appointment incurs expenses for care of a child during the first seven (7) years of the child's life or during the first seven (7) years following an adoption. (Note: only Graduate Employees may qualify for childcare assistance). Maximum award $700. This assistance may be used once per academic year per child.

Award Eligibility

In order to be eligible to receive a Graduate Student Assistance Fund award, a student must be:

  1. Admitted to and enrolled in a master’s or doctoral degree program at the University of Oregon.
  2. Enrolled for at least 3 graduate credits during the term in which the qualifying event occurs -and- in the term in which the student applies for access to the Fund -- unless the graduate student is on academic leave as a result of the qualifying event.  (Summer exception: For Qualifying Events and applications occurring during the summer, the student must have been enrolled for at least three graduate credits in the previous spring term).
  3. In good academic standing. In determining whether a student is in good academic standing, consideration will be given to the impact of the underlying qualifying event and that appointment and reappointment as a graduate employee is contingent on satisfactory academic progress.
  4. Experiencing a qualifying event.
  5. Experiencing financial hardship arising out of the qualifying event.
  6. Childcare expenses are only available for graduate employees. This assistance may be used once per academic year per child for documented childcare during the first seven (7) years of the child's life or during the first seven (7) years following an adoption.
  7. Master’s students are eligible to receive up to 2 awards from this fund during their academic career. Doctoral students are eligible to receive up to 6 awards from this fund during their academic career. Certificate-only students are not eligible for this award. Students who have met these limits may petition the Vice Provost for Graduate Studies in writing for an exception due to extraordinary circumstances. The Vice Provost's decision is final and binding. 
  8. Able to provide all required supporting documentation (see Graduate Student Assistance Fund Application).

Students will not be permitted to receive an assistance fund award associated with a qualifying event for which they previously received an assistance fund award with the exception of childcare expenses.

How to Apply

As of May 2023, we've moved our application system to an online form.

  • Click on the Apply Now button
  • Select "Sign in with Microsoft"
  • Enter your UO email address and password
  • Complete all required fields and submit

Students must document their qualifying event via the appropriate certification form in order to be eligible to receive support. Please collate all supporting documents with the appropriate certification form into a single pdf.

Applications must be made no later than 90 days after the qualifying event.

Apply Now

Certification Forms

Review and Decision

The Vice Provost for Graduate Studies or their designee will review the application and determine whether the information submitted is sufficient to prove eligibility up to the requested amount.

Students will be informed of the decision within 15 business days of their application’s receipt by the Division of Graduate Studies.

If the information presented is not sufficient to prove that the graduate student is eligible for the requested amount, they may be granted a partial award or the award may be fully denied.

As long as the documentation proves eligibility and there are sufficient monies in the fund, requests shall not be unreasonably denied.

Appeals Process

Any student whose application is denied in full or in part may appeal the decision within 15 days by submitting a written request to the Division of Graduate Studies by emailing requesting that their application and the decision be reviewed.

The student will be asked to complete a waiver, allowing the Graduate Assistance Fund Committee and the Provost to access information related to their application and appeal.

The appeal will be heard at the next meeting of the Graduate Assistance Fund Committee. The committee's recommendation shall be forwarded to the Provost for their decision, which is final and binding.

Disbursement of Award Funds

Approximately 1–2 weeks after approval notification, the approved award amount will be disbursed to the UO student's account (visible in Duckweb).

The award funds first will be applied to meet any outstanding balance on the student’s account.

The refunded amount will be applied to the student's bank account if the student has direct deposit set up on the student account.

Fund Advisory Committee

The Fund Advisory Committee, convened by the Vice Provost for Graduate Studies, meets once per term to review the assistance fund and its operations, providing an annual report with recommendations to the President.

The committee may also review appeals at the request of a student whose award has been denied.

Members of the 2022-23 Fund Advisory Committee

Luda Gogolushko
GE Representative, Chair

CJ Ravenwood
Non-GE Representative, Vice Chair

Holly Jones
GE Representative, Secretary

Thu Ta
Non-GE Representative



Jim Brooks
Associate Vice President, Director of Financial Aid
Advisory Committee Designee of the President

Andre Djiffack
Associate Professor
Advisory Committee Faculty Member Appointed by the Graduate Council

tia north
Director of Diversity and Inclusion
Graduate Studies Staff Member Appointed by the Vice Provost for Graduate Studies