About the Student Emergency Fund

The Student Emergency Fund assists Montana State University students by providing limited emergency financial assistance to currently enrolled students. Funding comes from donations, and in order for students to be eligible, they must have qualifying expenses that they are unable to meet due to an unexpected emergency, accident or incident occurring immediately.Examples of qualifying expenses include but are not limited to food, housing, course materials, childcare, transportation, healthcare and a personal or family illness. Tuition and fees are NOT qualifying expenses through this process. Funding is limited. MSU will review requests based on the criteria below and strive to award as many students as possible as long as funding is available.

*Reasonable Awards average $250

Application requirements for eligibility: 

  • have an immediate financial hardship resulting from an emergency, accident, or unexpected critical incident
  • be currently enrolled in classes for the semester and have a degree seeking status.
  • be able to describe what steps have been taken to mitigate the current emergency

Application preferences: 

  • those who have not previously received Student Emergency Funds

Expenses NOT covered: (this list is not exhaustive)

  • Tuition, fees, health insurance, and study abroad costs
  • Non-essential utilities (i.e. cable,streaming services,etc.), household or furniture costs not caused by damage or theft
  • Regularly anticipated fixed expenses
  • Parking tickets, fines, and legal fees
  • Costs for entertainment, recreation, non-emergency travel, or other non-essential expenses
  • Expenditures resulting from poor financial management 

The fund is designated to off-set a short-term financial need and is not intended to replace financial aid. Funds are awarded as a grant, and unlike a loan, do not need to be repaid. Funds may count as income and may be subject to federal and/or state taxes. 

Applications will be reviewed by a committee and limited funds will be awarded to assist students to stay safe and attend MSU while overcoming unanticipated hardships. The committee will also support students to identify resources and services that may provide critical assistance.

Funds are distributed through the Office of Financial Aid and Student Accounts. If you are currently receiving financial aid, please be aware that receiving funding from the Student Emergency Fund MAY affect your financial aid package. We are working with Financial Aid to minimize that impact as much as we can in this situation. Any unpaid balance on the students university account will be deducted from any monies awarded through the Student Emergency Fund program. A meeting with Financial Aid is strongly encouraged as there may be the option to work through an appeal.

Additional student resources:


The review committee will meet at least once a week to review applicaitons. Award notifications and application denials will be sent within a week from the date of review. 


The number of students who can be served by the Student Emergency Fund is subject to the availability of funding. The fund must be sustained by continual contributions from alumni, parents, faculty, staff and friends of the University. A big thank you goes to those who have given in the past and continue to give, as your help has provided support to many MSU students. Please visit the MSUAF website to make a donation.