What is a Student Emergency Fund?

Arch and the Holmes-Hunter Academic Building

The COVID-19 pandemic affects everyone, but some are feeling the effects more acutely. And UGA students are no exception. Because of the public health precautions necessary to stem the tide of infection, many students were left with no place to live, no work to provide income or, in some cases, both.

With so many students having so few options amid a crisis, the Undergraduate and Graduate Student Emergency Funds became very important very quickly. In the two months since UGA closed normal operations, the Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) received over 1,200* requests for emergency aid, an uptick so steep OSFA had to triple the number of people dedicated to processing these requests.

*data as of April 30. By May 13, this number surpassed 1,800 and continues to grow.

As the number of requests surged, UGA increased support for the funds. UGA President Jere W. Morehead and the UGA Foundation Board of Trustees directed the transfer of $600,000 to the emergency funds. The university also focused its fundraising efforts, raising more than $200,000 since mid-March to support student emergency funds.

As the COVID-19 crisis drags on, the need for emergency support will grow—the spring semester has concluded, but the summer semester is imminent and the effects of the pandemic may be felt well into the fall. Private giving can bolster student emergency funds, helping vulnerable UGA students persevere while they continue to pursue their education.

By giving to these funds, you can help students pay rent, buy food, secure medical care, cover technology costs and much more.


Third-year criminal justice student from Columbus, GA

The Student Emergency Fund helped me when I abruptly lost my job and my parents didn’t have the funds to provide for me. It gave me peace of mind during all this by covering my utilities and food for the next few months. I am so thankful that at a time filled with uncertainty I am able to lean on the University of Georgia and the support of Bulldog Nation! 

Third-year business management student from Rockmart, GA

I was shocked and somewhat confused when everything happened because at the time, I didn’t recognize the seriousness of COVID-19. Many of my scholarship and program advisors reached out to me just checking in and making sure I was safe and had what I needed. They all mentioned the student emergency funds to me, and I jumped on it immediately because I knew how much it could help me. 

With COVID-19 closing my place of part-time work, it was definitely going to be somewhat of a struggle to pay the month’s rent. This funding helped me by fulfilling the place of my weekly income from my job, it was truly a blessing.

To the people who donate to this fund: thank you. You don’t understand how much of a relief it was to know that somebody has my back during these rough times. At the end of the day, we can’t control the uncontrollable, but what we can do is lean on each other and help in any way we can, and that is exactly what these donors are doing. They inspired me to one day be able to give back to people like myself or someone in a position like mine.

Fourth-year dietetics student from Columbus, GA

When all of this first started, it really hit me as a shock because it happened so fast. My car stopped working about a week before school closed, and I had to invest what I had in a new one. My plan was to get a job that would give me more hours, but then all of this happened. I was really worried because I didn’t know how I was going to pay my rent or any additional expenses.

The fund has been so extremely helpful! I was able to pay last month’s rent and will have enough for this month’s as well. Additionally, it has provided for expenses such as food and gas. I really would just like to thank all the donors for making the student emergency fund possible, especially during this difficult time. May you receive double the blessing of what you’ve given. 


Supporting students like these is just one of the reasons UGA is Calling All Dawgs. Giving to student emergency funds, sharing our stories, mentoring students, supporting researchers: despite the circumstances, there are still ways that we can come together and make a difference today.