Emergency Fund


Applicant must be registered Graduate School students at the time of the request, have no Cornell bursar holds on account, and be matriculated in a degree program offered through Cornell’s Graduate School. (The Veterinary College, Law School, and Johnson School have their own assistance programs; students in these colleges should contact their college for more information).

The Emergency Fund typically provides grants up to $500 to help students offset necessary emergency expenses that cannot be funded by other means. In rare cases with demonstrated hardship need, up to $1,000 may be awarded. Funding priority is based on the urgency of the situation, level of hardship, and the student’s overall financial situation. Depending on the situation, students may be referred to additional resources including financial aid to explore loan options. Allowable expenses include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Travel expenses relating to emergencies (such as the death of a significant person)
  • Replacement of stolen goods (not lost due to negligence)
  • Emergency medical or emergency dental expenses not covered by insurance

These emergency funds are not designed to cover standard expenses included in the budgeted cost of attendance for the academic year (including tuition), non-emergency expenses, and so forth. Grants are on a first-come-first-serve basis, and funds are limited. The Graduate School Dean’s Office administers the Emergency Fund.

Application Process

Complete the Emergency Fund application form (PDF).

Please speak to Janna Lamey (janna.lamey@cornell.edu or 607-255-5184) when submitting your application. This requirement is waived if your application is being forwarded to the office by Cornell Health, Cornell Police, or the Crisis Management Team.

Once your application has been received, decisions are typically made within seven business days. You will be notified by Janna Lamey of your application’s status at the end of that period and be informed of the next steps.

If you are homeless, do not have enough money for food, or if you do not have the funding needed to cover immediate emergency travel expenses, please advise our office of your situation so we can expedite funding.

Other Resources

Depending on your financial needs, some other programs administered outside of the Graduate School that may provide support include:

  • Access Funds: This fund provides enrolled full-time undergraduate, graduate, and professional Cornell students with access to financial support, up to $500, to help mitigate on-campus barriers, access basic necessities, and cover emergency expenses not covered through financial aid or other university resources.
  • CU Emergency Fund: The Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment (FASE) administers the CU Emergency Fund which assists currently enrolled students with urgent, unanticipated expenses, including those incurred due to COVID-19. The fund is designed to assist with recent or upcoming emergency expenses that are above and beyond the standard cost of attendance. Costs such as technology, shipping, moving, or storage costs may be considered.
  • Office of Global Learning Financial Emergency Support: Limited funding support may be available to international undergraduate, graduate, and professional students experiencing a health care or family emergency or unexpected expense.

Food insecurity is a concern for many graduate students. A person who is food insecure has at times run out of money to buy food or run out of food before they could get more money. Additional support includes:

  • Swipe Out Hunger Program: Cornell is a participant of the Swipe Out Hunger Program, through which students can request support or donate.
  • Cornell Food Pantry: Cornell’s Food Pantry provides free, confidential access to food and personal care items to Cornell undergraduate and graduate students, as well as Cornell staff and faculty.

For a complete listing of food resources available in Tompkins County, please consult with the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County.


Janna Lamey
Senior Assistant Dean for Graduate Student Life