Emergency Funds

Life can be expensive, especially while you are attending college. Sometimes, emergencies come up and expenses occur that you just cannot avoid. When unexpected hardships arise, we want to be able to support you so that you can persist as a student at Portland State University. Below, there is information about emergency funds available to help when you need it most.

CARES Act Funding for Students Affected by COVID-19

By far, the largest financial resource currently available to PSU students during the COVID-19 crisis is from the federal government under the recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The CARES Act allocates a total of $8.3 million in emergency grants to PSU students for COVID-related expenses, including food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child care. 

Details about the CARES Act funds, such as eligibility and how to apply, can be found at the Student Finance website.

The General Student Emergency Fund

The General Student Emergency Fund offers short-term financial assistance to Portland State University students during times of crisis by providing financial support where a clear need exists. Unlike other hardship funds that currently exist at PSU, this fund is available to all students, regardless of major or demographics. These funds keep students in school, preventing them from dropping out due to a short-term financial crisis. The General Student Emergency Fund may be accessed once during a student’s academic career. Awards may not exceed $2,000 and do not have to be repaid. Funding will be disbursed “just in time” or within a week of an application being approved.

What is covered?

  • Replacement of essential personal belongings due to fire, flood, theft, or natural disaster
  • Emergency or temporary housing assistance
  • Medications or costs related to emergency medical care (not covered by insurance)
  • Assistance with food, rent, or utilities due to an emergency situation
  • Childcare costs
  • Emergency transportation costs related to a family death or illness
  • Safety-related needs (e.g. changing locks, short term emergency shelter)
  • Other emergencies impacting a student's ability to fully participate in their PSU academic career

What is NOT covered?

  • Tuition
  • Student fees or fines

Eligibility Criteria

In order to request funds from the General Student Emergency Fund, students must be currently:

  • Enrolled at PSU at least half-time
  • In good academic standing (2.5 GPA or above) or show evidence of recent satisfactory progress
  • Experiencing an unexpected financial hardship resulting from an emergency or crisis situation
  • Able to provide documentation of their financial hardship (e.g., billing statements, receipts, repair estimates)
  • Using up all other possible financial aid and financial resources before applying (e.g., CARES Act funding, student loans, Medicaid, personal financial accounts, community resources)

General Student Emergency Fund Application


Please note: applications will be reviewed and prioritized in the order in which they are received.


Other Portland State University Funds

In addition to the General Student Emergency Fund, there are also funds that are retained and managed in many of the schools, colleges, and resource centers. These funds are available for enrolled students who participate in those programs. Please contact these departments directly in order to learn more about the availability of these funds.

  • Colleges and Schools
    • College of Education (COE Student Emergency Fund)
    • College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS Student Hardship Fund)
    • College of the Arts (COTA Student Hardship Fund)
    • College of Urban and Public Affairs (CUPA Dean’s Hardship Fund)
    • Graduate School (Graduate Retention and Completion Fund)
    • Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science (MCECS Student Hardship Fund)
    • School of Business (SB Undergraduate Hardship Fund)
    • School of Social Work (SSW Student Emergency Fund)
  • Resource Centers
    • Diversity and Multicultural Student Services (Multicultural Retention Services Hardship Fund)
    • Native American Student and Community Center (NASCC Fund)
    • International Student and Scholar Services (Paula Harris International Student Aid Fund)
    • Queer Resource Center (Queer and Trans Student Support Fund)
    • Services for Students with Children (Jim Sells COVID-19 Hardship Fund)


Contact us at basicneedshub@pdx.edu.