The seed grant awards represent the second round of UGA President Jere Morehead’s Presidential Interdisciplinary Seed Grant program, which was announced in January 2017. (Photo/Jason Born)

The University of Georgia will increase its graduate student emergency fund by $100,000 per year for the next two years, a Nov. 18 UGA news release announced. The money will come from private funding.

Graduate students who experience a “temporary hardship related to an emergency situation” can apply for up to $2,000 in one-time financial assistance from the fund. The UGA Graduate School has disbursed about $50,000 to graduate students since the fund’s creation during the 2018-2019 academic year.

Eligibility requirements for the graduate student emergency fund are as follows:

  • Be enrolled as a full-time graduate student or writing a thesis or dissertation at UGA
  • Face a “temporary financial hardship resulting from an emergency situation”
  • Must have considered other federal options, including student loans
  • Remain need based on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid
  • Be in good academic standing and maintain “Satisfactory Academic Progress”
  • Provide documentation for the hardship as requested

“When some of our graduate students encounter significant and unforeseen hardships, the University of Georgia needs the ability to provide support and assistance,” said UGA President Jere Morehead. “We are a student-centered institution, and this additional investment in our graduate students is consistent with our mission.”

In the release, UGA emphasized a “commitment to graduate students,” saying it has raised the graduate students’ health insurance subsidy to cover half of insurance premiums effective fall 2019. The subsidy increase totals more than $6 million, the release said.

The University System of Georgia Board of Regents agreed to demands for better communication on insurance changes from the United Campus Workers of Georgia in March. Athens community members protested the tripling of insurance rates for spouses and children of graduate students last fall.

The university also said it has “consistently” increased the graduate student stipend rate over the last six years.

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