The Student Emergency Fund was created to provide support for CU Boulder students who are experiencing a crisis that could adversely affect their semester. The intent of the funding is to support students experiencing a temporary financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. The funding is a combination of:

  • Federal assistance provided through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), which includes emergency financial aid grants created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) act.
  • Funds donated by alumni, parents and friends of CU. 

Priority will be given to students who experienced a loss of income from employment and who have financial need. The funds are limited and not intended to provide ongoing relief for recurring expenses.

Emergency funding is provided in the form of a grant that does not need to be repaid. Students experiencing hardship may apply for each semester in which they are enrolled. Applications will be reviewed by the Office of Financial Aid and Student Affairs. 

Students should be aware that emergency funding may be taxable.

Award Amount

The value of the grant will vary according to the needs of the student, but cannot exceed $6,000. Awards typically range from $350 to $1,800 and are allocated based on type of need.

What expenses can be covered through the Student Emergency Fund?

  • Housing assistance, which could include rent, security deposit, costs associated with an unplanned move, or short-term hotel costs incurred to relocate, quarantine or isolate, for personal safety, etc.
  • Assistance with food.
  • Costs of additional equipment, course materials, software or technology to complete educational requirements via remote learning.
  • Medical expenses related to COVID-19.
  • Unplanned travel expenses to receive medical care, to self-quarantine or isolate. Examples could include airfare, car rental, bus or train fare, etc.
  • Unplanned or additional child care costs necessary to complete classwork.
  • Emergency personal or “incidental” expenses such as clothing, hygiene items, etc.
  • Safety-related needs such as change of locks, legal assistance, etc.

What expenses are typically not covered by the Student Emergency Fund?

  • Credit card debts
  • Penalties, fines, parking or other tickets
  • Nonessential expenses
  • Expenses due to a lack of planning or overspending

Apply for Funds


Eligibility Requirements

  • You must be an enrolled, degree-seeking (graduate or undergraduate) student at CU Boulder. 
  • You must be enrolled in at least one credit hour during the semester in which you are applying for funds. Continuing students may request emergency funds for summer if they are registered in at least one credit hour in fall.
  • You must have experienced an education-related expense as a result of COVID-19.
  • You must not be on academic suspension, behavioral probation or suspension.

Additional Requirements for HEERF Federal Emergency Grants

  • You must complete the 2019-20 or 2020-21 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). 
  • You must be eligible for federal financial aid. International and ASSET/DACA students are not eligible, but may be considered for a CU Boulder-funded grant.
  • You must be meeting the requirements of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
  • Students enrolled exclusively in an online program before March 13, 2020, are not eligible.

Students will be considered for both types of grants when applying.

How to Apply

  • Submit the attached Student Emergency Fund application along with supporting documentation, as requested and to the extent possible.
  • Applications will be reviewed as they are received and students will be notified of the status of their application generally within five business days.

Awarding Criteria

Many factors are taken into consideration when reviewing applications and determining grant amounts. These factors include, but are not limited to:

  • Availability of funding. 
  • The nature and urgency of the student’s emergency. Priority consideration will be given to students who experienced loss of income from employment related to COVID-19. 
  • Financial need as demonstrated by the FAFSA.

How the Award is Paid

Emergency grants are paid directly through the student billing process. Direct deposit is the fastest and easiest way for students to receive their emergency funds. Set up direct deposit in Buff Portal (see instructions) if you have not already done so or verify that your banking information is still correct so that you get the funds as soon as possible. Without direct deposit, a paper check will be mailed to the student, which may take several weeks. Emergency funds cannot pay any charges directly on the tuition and fee bill or be held on the student account for future charges.

If you are a faculty or staff member employed by CU Boulder, and your primary reason for being at CU Boulder is for work, you should apply through the Faculty Staff Emergency Fund

All applicants should note references pertaining to discrimination; harassment; sexual misconduct or intimate partner abuse and stalking, disclosed in this application or accompanying documentation may be required to be disclosed to the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC), Title IX Coordinator or designee. Confidential assistance for those experiencing these is available through the Office of Victim’s Assistance (OVA) or Counseling & Psychiatric Services (CAPS) or Ombuds Office.