UWL's Emergency Fund

A page within Student Life

Who can apply for the UWL Emergency Fund?

People who meet the following criteria can apply for the UWL Emergency Fund:

  • Must be a currently enrolled student at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
  • Must have a financial hardship resulting from an emergency, accident, or other critical incident
  • All possible resources, including financial aid, have been considered and are either unavailable or insufficient
  • Priority shall be given to students who have not applied for this fund within the past year

Typical grants from the Emergency Fund will not exceed $400. Please note that this is not the COVID-19 emergency grant.

Expenses Expanding Block

While not exhaustive, typical expenses that might be covered by the Emergency Fund include:

  • Replacement of essential personal belongings damaged during an emergency or natural disaster
  • Emergency or temporary housing assistance
  • Costs related to emergency medical care that are not covered by insurance
  • Assistance with rent or utilities due to an emergency situation
  • Emergency transportation expenses related to a family death or illness
  • Safety related needs (i.e. changing a lock)
  • Other emergency situation that may impact a student's ability to fully participate in their academic experience at UWL

While exhaustive, the following list includes examples of items that will NOT be covered by this fund:

  • Normal and anticipated academic expenses (such as tuition, fees, health insurance, books, and rent)
  • Non-essential utilities, household or furniture costs not related to damage or theft
  • Replacement of non-essential personal items due to fire, flood, theft or natural disaster
  • Citations, fines, jail bonds or other legal fees
  • Costs for entertainment, recreation, or non-emergency travel

About the Emergency Fund

The University of Wisconsin—La Crosse recognizes that many students may experience unexpected financial hardship and challenge while attending college. The Emergency Fund was established in 2008 to honor former university professor and administrator Maurice O. Graff, a person who was a strong student advocate and who cared deeply about students’ well-being. Initially seeded by anonymous donors, the purpose of the Emergency Fund is to provide students some monetary relief during moments of financial emergency. Grants are typically intended to assist with things like car repairs, minor medical bills, emergency housing expenses, and unexpected transportation costs. Unlike scholarships or other financial aid, disbursements from the fund are not time-specific, but are instead provided when student emergencies present and are determined they can be appropriately mitigated by the fund.

Goals related to the Emergency Fund

The university has a goal to educate students about the availability of resources on campus and about which ones might be the best option for support. While the Emergency Fund may not always meet a student’s needs in all circumstances, it can prompt deeper exploration of circumstances, which may result in involvement from other important resource offices (e.g. Financial Aid).

Students should be aware that a request may not be fully funded by the Emergency Fund. Long term needs that exceed the spirit of the Emergency Fund will be directed to the financial aid office. A student’s receipt of a grant from the Emergency Fund may also have an effect on a student’s overall financial aid package. All grant awards are communicated to the financial aid office. Where a student’s financial aid package will be impacted by the grant, the student will be notified prior to receiving the funds so they will have an opportunity to make an informed decision.

Typical grants from the Emergency Fund will not exceed $400.

Application Guidelines

Applicants requesting a grant must complete an Emergency Fund Application in the Student Life Office. The application should include appropriate documentation to verify the circumstances for the grant request. Examples of document might include, but are not limited to: medical bills, utility statements, police reports or other court records, repair estimates, travel related documents, and receipts or invoices related to eligible expenses.  Fund grant applications will be considered incomplete without all appropriate documentation. In most cases, the university will make payment of grants directly to sellers or service providers.

Supporting the Emergency Fund

Emergency Fund Recipient

“Continuing my education has been of great importance to me, but it has been made a challenge due to the financial restrictions brought on by health and economic strain. Your generous gift has helped to ease the burden of that, as well as touched me through your kindness.” —an Angel Fund (former name of Emergency Fund) recipient (Article in The Racquet, June 2, 2015)

UWL’s ability to support students through the Emergency Fund is dependent on the availability of resources within the fund. It was seeded by donors who care about students, but it can only be sustained through contributions and investment from valued alumni, parents, faculty, staff and friends of the university. To make a donation of support to the Emergency Fund, we encourage you to visit the UWL Foundation website (https://www.uwlax.edu/foundation/):

  • Click on "Give Now" button in the upper right hand corner
  • Choose “Other” under “Areas of Interest” and type “Emergency Fund” on the “Note (Optional)” line to ensure the funds are directed correctly