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Dean’s Emergency Fund

To help terminal master’s and Ph.D. students with unexpected one-time expenses such as travel related to a death in the immediate family, temporary housing after a fire, or emergency dental surgery, the Dean's Office has set aside special funds. Everything you need to know to apply for this assistance is below.


To discuss your situation and eligibility for the fund, contact Associate Dean Allegra di Bonaventura.


Developed in consultation with the Graduate Student Assembly, the Dean’s Emergency Fund enables students to continue making academic progress despite unanticipated, extreme financial hardships. The fund does not cover recurring expenses, including routine visa expenses; instead, it is intended for master’s and Ph.D. students who cannot reasonably resolve their immediate financial difficulty through fellowships, loans, or personal resources. Each funding request is eligible for an award of up to $2,000.


  • The fund is open to all terminal master’s and Ph.D. students registered full-time in degree programs of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
  • Funding may be used to cover things such as:
    • Temporary housing for displacement due to fire, flood, or other unforeseen circumstances. (NB: The fund does not cover costs associated with housing conflicts between roommates and/or landlords.)
    • Emergency dental expenses for students (e.g., root canal). Dental emergencies may qualify for up to 50% of the unreimbursed cost, up to $2,000.
    • Travel costs related to unexpected crisis or death in the immediate family.
    • For additional examples concerning funding eligibility and for list of requests that have not been supported please see Summary of Emergency Fund Requests here.
  • Costs must be incurred while the student is registered full-time in a terminal master’s or Ph.D. program in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Costs incurred during a previous academic year are not eligible.
  • The student should intend to continue in the degree program once the emergency is resolved.
  • If a student is unsure about eligibility, they should contact Dean di Bonaventura.

Application Process

  • Applicants should provide a brief description of the emergency situation and the amount of funding requested, including a listing of anticipated or incurred emergency expenses.
  • Application materials should be submitted to

Review Process

  • Applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis once the application is complete.
  • Any information provided will remain confidential.


The award does not require repayment. However, to replenish the fund and ensure that future students can receive the same benefit, we encourage awardees to donate to the fund when they are able.

Medical Leave Hardship Awards

Effective Spring 2022, the Graduate School offers Medical Leave Hardship Awards of up to $3,000 for GSAS students who experience financial hardship as a result of taking a medical leave from their academic program.  If a student experiences financial hardship upon taking a medical leave, they can apply for a hardship award, once their leave is approved, by emailing and including in their request: 1) their fixed monthly living expenses; 2) their savings/debt; and 3) any financial support from other sources, including employment or family. Students may apply for a hardship award in every semester in which they are on an approved medical leave.