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Rackham Graduate Student Emergency Funds

The Rackham Graduate Student Emergency Fund is intended to help meet the financial needs of Rackham graduate students who encounter an emergency situation or one-time, unusual, or unforeseen expenses during their degree program. Examples include:

  • Medical, dental, or mental health emergencies for the student or, in some circumstances, for immediate family members who live with the student
  • Major accidents and events such as fire and natural disasters
  • Expenses related to the death of an immediate family member

Normal living expenses such as rent, car repairs, child care, utilities, taxes, insurance, pet-related expenses, and computer/laptop replacement are generally not covered by this fund.

An “immediate family member” is defined as a student’s spouse or other qualified adult (who shares a primary residence with you and has done so for the previous six continuous months, other than as your employee or tenant) or the son, daughter, parent, grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister (or the spouse of any of them), of either the student, the student’s spouse, the other qualified adult, or any other related person living in the student’s household. We acknowledge that students have family relationships that extend beyond their household. As our focus is on assisting the greatest number of Rackham graduate students—with limited funds at our disposal—requests must adhere to this guideline.

Challenges Related to COVID-19

Requests due to COVID-19–related hardships, even those that fall outside of the categories listed above, are welcomed and will receive full consideration. During the pandemic, Rackham will consider funding requests to assist with rent and utilities. Assistance with these expenses will require a demonstration of financial need and will be considered through the spring/summer 2021 term.  

Students who are experiencing financial difficulties that exceed the scope of this fund are encouraged to contact Darlene Ray-Johnson by email, or by phone at 734.936.1647.


Students must be enrolled in a Rackham degree program. Rackham doctoral students are limited to two (2) Emergency Fund awards and master’s students are limited to one (1) Emergency Fund award during their graduate career. Ph.D. students on an approved leave of absence are eligible if they were in good academic standing at the beginning of the period of leave, have an approved plan for return to active study at the conclusion of the leave, and experience an emergency situation or unforeseen expense that would interfere with their ability to return to active study as planned.

Students who are experiencing financial difficulties that exceed the scope of this fund may request a meeting with Rackham staff to further explore the difficulties they are experiencing. Staff will be in touch with students to help address needs, concerns, and to assist with campus referrals, as appropriate.


Applications from students are reviewed on a rolling basis once the application is complete.

Award Description

Awards may be up to $2,500 each.

For students who qualify for need-based financial aid (including the child care subsidy), receipt of this Rackham award may reduce the original loan amount or subsidy. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid prior to submitting your application for help evaluating your individual circumstance and possible impact to your financial aid.

Application Process

Students should apply online. Before applying for emergency funds, students are encouraged to speak to their faculty advisors and the graduate chairs of their programs. These individuals may be able to help identify sources of financial assistance and/or provide useful advice. The online application includes the following:

  • Brief statement describing the emergency situation or one-time, unusual, or unforeseen expense and the total dollar amount of emergency funds being requested. (1,500 words)
  • Budget detailing the amount of emergency funding requested, a list of current expenses and an itemized list of how the funds will be used, and your financial situation including sources of income and other available funding. (1,500 words)

Apply for Rackham Graduate Student Emergency Funds