Emergency Relief Grant


The GSA Emergency Relief Grant was approved by the UCSB graduate student body in 2011 and is designed to help graduate students who are experiencing sudden financial distress due to unforeseen circumstances. Examples of this type of hardship may include, but are not limited to, the loss of an immediate family member, medical emergency, or an unexpected loss of employment. The amount of an award ranges between $100 and $1000 depending upon individual circumstances. The amount to be awarded is decided by the GSA Emergency Grant Advisory Board. The eight member Advisory Board consists of campus administrators, staff, and members of the GSA executive board.


  1. You are a graduate student at UCSB
  2. You have sudden financial distress due to unforeseen circumstances
  3. For FAFSA eligible students, you have completed the FAFSA for the current academic year (if eligible) and have accepted any loans offered through the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship (OFAS). For undocumented students, you do not have to complete the CA Dream Act since you are not eligible for federal loans.
  4. This grant can be received a maximum of 2 times during your UCSB graduate career.

If you have taken out at least half of the loans offered through OFAS you might be eligible for help from the Financial Crisis Response Team (FCRT). Additionally, if your expenses are for unpaid medical bills, you should apply to the Student Medical Emergency Relief Fund (SMERF) first and apply here for anything they won’t cover. 

Application Instructions

  1. You have a need: 
  • it doesn’t have to be medical 
  • It doesn’t have to be a specific type 
  • when in doubt, just apply


  2. Apply 

  • share as much as you would like
  • just be clear about how the grant can help 
  • the online form has details about the committee and the process 


3. The committee might follow up with you to request additional information such as bills and other documents


4. The committee will make a decision as quickly as possible and you will be notified via email

How long does the application process take? 

The application process can take anywhere from two to four weeks to complete once the application packet is received by the Advisory Board.

Are there any situations the grant won't cover? 

The Emergency Grant will not be awarded to applicants that have unused personal savings or financial aid resources available.  Awards will also not be given to students if hardship is determined to be the result of personal financial mismanagement (e.g., gambling) or family financial stress that does not directly impact a student’s ability to remain enrolled at UCSB.  This grant is not intended to offset hardship caused by a lack of TA or GSR employment.