Student Emergency Fund

About the Student Emergency Fund

The Cortland College Foundation has established a student emergency fund to help assist SUNY Cortland students facing an emergency situation that has caused unforeseen financial hardship, with the intention to support students to stay in college and continue their education.

The donor-supported fund offers emergency grants of up to $500 to eligible students to help pay for urgent expenses. The awards are designated as temporary assistance and are not intended to replace financial aid. Students are eligible for no more than one grant per academic year with a “lifetime” award totaling $2000.

Make a gift


To be considered eligible for funding, students applying for assistance must be pursuing a degree at SUNY Cortland and enrolled as a full-time, matriculated, undergraduate or graduate student. Enrollment will be verified. Only complete applications will be considered, and must include support documentation at time of submission. Award decisions will be made within three to five business days of application submission. Additional documentation or follow up may be required before finalizing an approved request.

Support documentation may include:

  • Screenshots of currently dated bills and statements for upcoming or past due balances (not reimbursements).
  • Signed and dated leases with a current statement from landlord or property manager indicating upcoming payment owed or outstanding balance.
  • Estimates for medical or dental procedures (NY State of Health options are available for individuals who need insurance options.)
  • Automotive repairs/maintenance/gas/insurance (ex: vehicles used only for commuting to work, school, child care)

Student emergencies and eligible expenses

Emergencies are typically unexpected occurrences that may adversely impact a student’s ability to cover the cost of basic needs or essential living expenses. The following are examples of situations that may trigger financial distress:

  • Unexpected damaged or stolen property, e.g., fire, flood, theft, or break-in
  • Inability to access employment
  • Unforeseen accident or medical/dental expenses
  • Sudden loss of housing or homelessness
  • Unanticipated change in financial aid award causing financial hardship
  • Domestic or relationship violence

Examples of eligible expenses:

  • Child care
  • Food (see grocery and basic needs)
  • Medical/dental
  • Personal automobile expenses
  • Rent or other housing
  • Technology
  • Transportation (see emergency travel assistance)
  • Utilities, including internet service

Examples of ineligible expenses:

  • Tuition
  • College Fees
  • Books
  • Credit Card Debt
  • Cable Bills
  • Legal Representation

Grocery and basic needs

  • Aldi grocery cards will be distributed to those that are approved for grocery or basic needs requests.
  • Cortland Cupboard is a free resource available to all SUNY Cortland students.
  • Food Resources (211 Cortland offers comprehensive off-campus resources).

Emergency travel assistance

Examples of eligible requests:

  • Death
  • Unexpected family emergency

Examples of ineligible requests:

  • Internships
  • Student teaching
  • Departing/returning from break

Emergency housing and rent assistance

Examples of eligible requests:

  • Inability to pay rent/mortgage balance
  • Homelessness

Examples of ineligible requests:

  • Reimbursement for rent paid in full

Apply for funding

Please apply for an emergency grant only after other methods of funding have been exhausted. Funding is limited, please only request what is needed. Applications will be prioritized based on detailed review of need. Applications will be accepted during the fall and spring semesters. 

The Student Emergency Fund is unavailable to students during the summer and winter sessions.  Starting May 5, 2023 the application will be inactive.  The application will be reactivated on August 15, 2023 for the Fall 2023 semester.  

Apply now