GSAS/ASGC Community COVID-19 Emergency Fund

UPDATE: We are happy to announce that we will be conducting a second round of funding beginning on Monday, May 4. The deadline to apply for the second round is Monday, May 11. Please read the instructions below thoroughly. 

GSAS and the Arts and Science Graduate Council (ASGC) have partnered to create a GSAS/ASGC Community COVID-19 Emergency Fund for registered master’s and doctoral students in Arts and Sciences programs who have urgent and time-sensitive COVID-19-related financial emergencies that cannot be addressed by any other source. Grants may vary in amount but will not exceed $500.

Additional Resources

GSAS has compiled a list of Columbia University, government, and other resources that may be sufficient for addressing some of the emergency needs that are most common among graduate students. Before applying to the limited GSAS/ASGC Community COVID-19 Emergency Fund, please visit this page to review resources for:

  • Housing insecurity
  • Food insecurity
  • Loss of income
  • Childcare resources

If these resources are not sufficient for meeting your current emergency need, we invite you to apply to the Emergency Fund.

Eligibility: Who Can Apply

  • Students must be currently registered in an Arts and Sciences MA, PhD, or DMA program.
  • Expenses must be immediate and directly related to the student. Expenses that are anticipated beyond May 31, 2020, do not qualify for the Emergency Fund.
  • Expenses must be for new circumstances that are clearly related to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Selection: How Grantees Are Selected

The fund is intended to meet a variety of needs. Applications will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis provided that they meet the “Eligibility” criteria above. Priority is reserved for those cases in which the applicant does not have access to additional means. Applications will be evaluated based on the criteria below.

  • Is the expressed need immediate?
  • Is the need directly related to COVID-19?
  • Does the need pertain directly to the student’s own or a dependent’s circumstances versus someone else’s (such as a roommate or partner)? 
  • Does the applicant have existing debt that has been significantly exacerbated by COVID-19?
  • Does the need arise from medical, health-related, or other personal conditions that have caused additional financial strain as a result of COVID-19?
  • Has the applicant exhausted all other possible resources, including personal assets, family and personal networks, and the various Columbia and public/government/community resources listed in the Emergency Fund application instructions?

Following is a list of examples of the kinds of circumstances that would warrant relief from the Emergency Fund:

  • A student who has expended resources to provide care for a dependent or other family member that otherwise would not have been necessary outside of COVID-19 and is not covered by any other source.  
  • A student who experiences a loss of income from not being able to report to work in-person during stay-at-home order, resulting in inability to pay for food and/or rent.
  • A student who needed to evacuate from field research site to return home immediately, incurring unanticipated expenses from substantially increased airfare and change fees.

Application Instructions

Applicants must complete this online form for full consideration. Applications must be accompanied by any supporting documentation such as receipts and affidavits to substantiate the request. Review of applications will begin immediately. 

We will be conducting a second round of funding beginning Monday, May 4. To be considered in the second round, please submit the application materials by Monday, May 11. If you have any questions or concerns, please write to GSAS-EFC [at]

Documentation Required

  • Upon Application
    • Detailed description of how COVID-19 has affected student’s circumstances and created this emergent need.
    • Estimated expenses through May 31, 2020, demonstrating impact from COVID-19.
    • Other documentation as applicable to the specific nature of the request.
  • Upon Request
    • Applicants may be asked to verify monthly expenses, debts, or personal exigencies resulting from COVID-19 (this information will be kept confidential, viewed only by GSAS administration).


This limited fund was seeded through contributions from the Arts and Science Graduate Council (ASGC) and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS). GSAS alumni and Arts and Science departments have made additional donations that will be added to this fund to further expand its reach to students who are in need of emergency support. We are grateful for these donations, and proud of the expression of community solidarity that these collective efforts convey.   


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