Emergency Fund Student Guide

Life can be unpredictable. Unexpected costs and needs can cause significant stress that can impact your academic success and personal wellbeing. Hoo Needs Help exists to support students who need assistance with unexpected, unforeseen, and unavoidable emergency expenses. These may be expenses related to situations such as accidents, illness, theft, fire damage, food insecurity, or temporary housing needs.

Hoo Needs Help is a centralized entry point for all UVA students to apply for emergency financial support. Emergency support may be provided in the form of grants or short-term loans.

Please note: This fund is NOT a scholarship or grant and is intended to be an emergency resource for basic needs when other options have been exhausted. If you are in need of funds immediately, you can access a short-term emergency loan through Student Financial Services.


All degree-seeking, enrolled students, graduate and undergraduate, are eligible to apply, regardless of documentation or academic status. 

  • For most requests, students will be required to utilize any available need-based financial aid, including loans, before emergency financial assistance is available.
  • During periods of no enrollment (between terms) and J-term, emergency loans will be the only available form of support.
  • Emergency assistance will be very limited during summer sessions. Students must be enrolled in courses for credit to be eligible for emergency financial assistance. Support for basic needs covered under a student’s cost of attendance (i.e., rent, utilities, food, and other living expenses) may be available only in the form of emergency loans. 


Expenses Covered

These expenses may be covered by the Hoo Needs Help Emergency Fund:

Medical Expenses – to cover emergency medical expenses including vision and dental emergency costs.

  • This may include medications related to emergency care and support for emergency-related, non-recurring specialist services. 
  • A copy of the bill demonstrating actual financial responsibilities not covered by insurance is required for HNH to review of requests for medical expenses. Estimates of anticipated costs will not be accepted. 

Safety Needs –  to address immediate safety needs brought up by an emergency situation (e.g., changing a lock). 

Essentials Recovery / Temporary Housing– replacement of essential personal belongings or temporary housing needs due to fire, theft, or natural disaster.

  • In the case of theft, documentation of a police report will be required. 

Rental Assistance – up to one month of rent for students at risk of eviction or displacement, or unable to make rent due to emergency circumstances.

Food Assistance  – one-time food award for students with short-term food needs that exceed what the food pantry can provide.

Other Emergency Cost of Living Expenses – funds to cover other emergency cost of living expenses not specified above including emergency transportation, hygiene, and utilities.

  • Dependent Care Support – unexpected childcare or dependent care expenses related to an emergency situation.
Expenses NOT Covered
  • Tuition & fees
  • Books
  • Research expenses
  • Expected moving costs
  • Non-urgent medical expenses
    • This includes deductibles, copays, and gaps in insurance coverage (i.e., remaining balances after insurance) for medical care not related to a medical emergency. 
  • Non-essential utilities (e.g., cable), household expenses, or furniture costs
  • Parking tickets, court fees, or other legal expenses
  • Costs for entertainment, recreation, or non-emergency travel
  • Laptop, tablet, and/or phone replacements or repair not due to theft, fire, or other natural disaster.
    • A computer loan of up to $3000 is available and allowed once during a student’s enrollment at the University. Please see One-Time Computer Expense Form for details.
  • Headphones, digital pens, and/or other nonessential technology

Maximums for 2023 - 2024 Academic Year

Budget Item 2022-23 Maximum Budget
Off-Campus Rent / Mortgage

$900 for undergraduate students

$1200 for graduate students and/or students with dependents

Emergency Transportation / Travel $500 per academic year
Emergency Medical / Dental / Optical Expenses $500 per academic year
Other Living Expenses $500 per academic year

Funding Prioritization and Need Assessment

Due to limited funds and desire for equitable awarding, we prioritize awarding to students who:

  • Are currently unhoused, at-risk of eviction or displacement, or experiencing intimate partner violence, sexual harassment, and/or sexual violence
  • Have significant loan debt history or have met the average loan borrowing amount for students of their year
    • Note that we recognize non-FAFSA filers do not have the same level of access to loans and assess accordingly
  • Have experienced recent significant changes beyond the continued impact of the pandemic in employment/income/expenses or unexpected emergency costs
  • Have not received any campus or department emergency grants, and have limited or no support from family/guardians, savings or assets

Next Steps

  1. Complete the Hoo Needs Help Application. You must include all documentation of the emergency expense(s) within your application. Applications lacking the necessary documentation may be denied. 
  2. Our staff will reach out to you within 5-7 business days.
  3. You may be asked to schedule a virtual meeting or phone call to discuss your circumstances and to facilitate necessary financial aid processes.
  4. If you are awarded, the funding should be disbursed within 3-5 business days. The award will be deposited into a student’s bank account directly via Direct Deposit or sent via check depending on the student’s refund preference set up in the Student Information System (SIS).

Our team cannot guarantee the exact timeline for disbursement. If you need funds quickly, we recommend you take out a short-term emergency loan. For questions or other concerns, please contact [email protected]

Additional and Alternative Resources 

  • Short-Term Emergency Loans
    • Student Financial Services offers a short-term Emergency Loan available to undergraduate students for up to $500 and graduate students for up to $750 per semester.
    • Care and Support Services offers an Honor Loan of up to $1,000 per semester available for all students who are in good academic standing and good financial standing. Please email [email protected] for more information.
  • GradBridge Loan
    • Graduate students transitioning from fellowship stipends to wage assistantships can borrow a GradBridge Loan for up to $2,500 per term. 
  • Peer Financial Counseling
    • Free peer counseling support available to all UVA students including budgeting, personal credit, student loans, personal banking, investing, etc.
  • Cavalier Fund
    • The Cavalier Fund provides up to $1,000 per academic year to support eligible students' interest and participation in co-curricular activities that supplement the University’s academic program. 
    • All enrolled undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need are eligible to apply. You can find more information about eligibility requirements here.
  • Next Steps Fund for UVA Students
    • CAPS and UVA Student Council recognize the importance of finding an affordable therapist and being able to have ongoing access to treatment. In paying for your first six sessions with a community therapist, The Next Steps Fund is intended to help reduce your initial financial burden. After the six initial visits, the student will pay for ongoing sessions independently or through their health insurance plan.
  • Food Insecurity Resources
  • Community Resources 
    • CommonHelp is the Commonwealth of Virginia’s fast and easy way to apply online for many financial assistance programs. 
    • Students working at least 20 hours a week in a federally funded or state work study program are automatically eligible for assistance with food needs through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Apply online and an individual from Social Services will follow up with information on next steps.