Emergency Fellowship Funding

The Graduate School’s Emergency Fellowship Funding is available to graduate students who experience unusual or unforeseen emergency situations that are of a sudden and temporary nature. Emergency funds are intended to provide support for one-time unexpected and extraordinary expenses and may be up to $3,000, though applications for dire circumstances that exceed that award amount may be considered. Tuition, health insurance, rent, groceries, household utilities, and other ordinary living expenses are typically not covered by Emergency Fellowship Funding. With the limited amount of funds that the Graduate School has for this initiative, we must have such criteria for what constitutes an emergency. In line with our vision and mission, we strive to help the greatest possible number of graduate students who are facing unforeseen circumstances and unpredictable financial difficulties. IMPORTANT NOTE: A financial contribution from the major professor, department/program unit and/or college is highly encouraged to accompany an emergency funding fellowship application. In the exceptional circumstance that a financial contribution is not possible from any of these sources, a brief statement of explanation from the graduate assistant/associate dean must accompany the application for further consideration.

Emergency Fellowship Funding applicants who are facing financial predicaments that exceed the scope of this fellowship can contact the Graduate School for suggestions about how to further address the challenges they are facing. They also have the option of explaining why additional funds are being requested in the required budget and brief statement that must accompany the application (see below).

Application Process

Requests from graduate students for emergency funding should be emailed to the Graduate School at fellowshipapps@grd.msu.edu with the proper signatures and documentation. Applications are evaluated on a rolling basis and applicants will be notified within 3 – 5 business days after the submission of a complete application. Incomplete applications will be returned. Applicants should be aware that it will likely take at least two weeks for the funds to be disbursed.

Applications must include the Emergency Fellowship Funding Application (PDF) form. Application forms must include the signatures of (and potential supporting funds from) the applicant’s major professor/adviser, the department Chair or Graduate Program Director, and the Dean/Associate Dean of the College (refer to application form). The Office for International Students and Scholars (103 International Center) must review and endorse requests from international students.

Applications must also include the following items:

  • A brief statement (1,000 words maximum) that includes
    1. an explanation of the unusual or unforeseen expenses;
    2. the total dollar amount of funding that is being requested;
    3. a description of the student’s financial situation; and
    4. other avenues that have been explored for possible funding.
  • A budget detailing the amount of funding requested that includes a list of current expenses as well as a description of how the Emergency Fellowship Funding will be used.
  • A statement from the student’s major professor indicating that the student is making satisfactory progress towards their degree in a graduate program. If the student feels comfortable sharing information pertaining to their situation with their major professor, they may do so. This information can also be included in the major professor’s statement.
  • Optional: Applicants have the option of including other supporting documents with their application (e.g., bills, receipts, etc.)

PLEASE NOTE: If you have federal loans or other needs-based loans/aid, the amount of your fellowship award may cause a reduction of your loan(s) or other financial aid. You may still wish to consider the fellowship as this will most likely reduce your total loan debt at graduation. Please seek advice from your Office of Financial Aid Counselor before you turn down a fellowship.

Emergency Fellowship Funding Application (PDF)

Please contact Graduate School Associate Dean Dr. Terah Chambers (terah@msu.edu) with any questions.


Applicants must be enrolled in a graduate degree program and must be enrolled for the semester during which they receive funding. The Graduate School will consider both financial need and the applicant’s efforts to resolve the situation.

Funding Amount: 
typically, up to $3,000 *see note in first paragraph
Semester Due: 
Rolling Deadline