Graduate Student Financial Hardship and Emergency Support Resources

There are several sources of funds/resources to support the financial needs of graduate students. Please review the following information about potential sources of support to determine the best avenue to request support for your needs.

Please note that graduate student stipends are intended to pay for basic living expenses for a single student (no dependents) to meet their basic needs (housing, utilities, food). It is unlikely that students will be able to support others or save while earning a stipend. The university cannot support student financial strain caused by a student supporting others beyond themselves.

If you are experiencing strain due to university circumstances beyond your control that may require intervention and/or additional support, please contact Dean DeBoef ( and/or Associate Dean Mouw (

URI Graduate School Financial Hardship Fund

The Graduate School has a fund intended to assist graduate students with financial hardship. It is available to students enrolled full-time in traditional programs who are in good academic and conduct standing. Hardship can be caused from exceptional expenses or unplanned academic situations beyond what a student’s income or savings can support. Please note, the Students First Fund (described in the Students First Fund tab) is the resource to be used for unforeseen misfortunes or emergency situations (e.g. fire, accident, illness).

There are two payment routes possible: 1) The Graduate School can provide support by paying a portion of your university fees, insurance, or tuition. The funds will be applied towards the academic bill. If the student has an academic bill balance of $0.00, Enrollment Services will disburse a refund check. Graduate students should note that this is considered a scholarship and it will be counted toward their eligible financial aid. 2) Direct payment to the student is possible, but will be considered income and is subject to taxes.

The financial hardship support will be considered on a case-by-case basis through an application process. Award amounts up to $1500 per academic year will be determined based on the need and amount in the fund. The Graduate School will make awards in the order of application based on the available money. Priority will be given to students who have not previously received support through the financial hardship funds. Costs must have been incurred while enrolled at the University of Rhode Island, and costs for future academic year will not be considered. This fund does not cover research-related expenses or travel to and from internship/practicum/research sites and conferences. Please see the Enhancement of Graduate Research Awards, GSA, and GAU opportunities for these expense needs.

Examples of eligible Financial Hardship Fund requests include:

  • Rent, utilities, and other essential household expenses
  • Medications and other costs related to medical care
  • Safety needs (i.e. changing of locks)
  • Costs related to childcare

Examples of expenses not covered:

  • Study abroad costs or conference/research travel
  • Non-essential utilities (i.e. cable)
  • Long-term medical expenses
  • Parking tickets or other legal/criminal fines
  • Costs for entertainment, recreation, or other non-essential expenses

*IMPORTANT: There are financial aid or income tax implications of receiving these funds. You may find it helpful to consult the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Tax Topic 421: Scholarship and Fellowship Grants and Publication 970: Tax Benefits for Education available at Specific questions regarding the taxation and personal tax liability should be referred to the IRS and or your personal tax advisor. The University cannot provide guidance or answer questions related to taxes. International students should contact for tax information.

Apply for GS Financial Hardship Fund

Students First Fund

If your financial emergency is for reasons of unforeseen circumstances and cannot be considered a known and/or recurring cost, please review the eligibility requirements for the Students First Fund. An application to be considered for support by this fund is on the linked page.

Students First Fund Page

Rhody Outpost

The Rhody Outpost supports students who are experiencing food insecurity. This means you lack consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. Food insecurity can be temporary or long-term. If you are food insecure, please review the information on the Outpost website and fill out the intake form on that page.

Rhody Outpost Page