Emergency and Opportunity Funding

Welcome to Penn’s Emergency and Opportunity Funding application. Any enrolled undergraduate, graduate, or professional student is potentially eligible for this financial assistance. Students do not need to identify as FGLI or highly aided to apply.

ABOUT

Emergency and Opportunity Funding grew from a 2017 gift from the Class of 1967 to establish the Access and Retention Fund. This initial seed money was depleted in the spring of 2020 after helping many students leave campus and manage remote learning during the coronavirus pandemic. Penn Student Government then stepped in with a significant gift to continue and expand this critical emergency assistance. Student leaders felt strongly that unspent programming funds could best be used to help classmates facing unprecedented academic, medical, personal, pre-professional, or technological challenges, now and in years to come. University partners provide additional funding streams; support includes James Brister Society, Association of Latino Alumni, Association of Alumnae, and the Trustees Council of Penn Women.

SCOPE OF FUNDING

Students can seek and receive support for needs including, but not limited to:

  • Laptops, academic technology, internet access
  • Tickets to travel home or to see family in an emergency
  • Medical bills (hospital, vision, dental)
  • Winter and professional attire
  • Academic course materials
  • Graduate school exam prep or application fees
  • Academic or pre-professional opportunity, such as conference participation or travel to reach an internship/job

PROCESS

VPUL’s Student Intervention Services (SIS) leads the Emergency and Opportunity Funding process. SIS works closely with Student Financial Services, Penn First Plus, and Alumni Relations, which also contribute funds and expertise in evaluating student applications.

We strongly recommend that students speak with their assigned financial aid counselor to discuss any award that may be received. The team strives to honor requests, but some students may not be eligible for emergency grants. Students with denied requests will still receive guidance and support from the team to identify other possibilities. To learn more about other, non-grant options please review our Funding FAQ document.

TIMELINE

Submit a complete application, including any supporting documentation

  • Student receives an email, typically within 48 hours, inviting them to schedule a one-on-one meeting with SIS staff member
  • Student meets with SIS staff member to review the application and discuss any related issues
  • Grant team meets weekly, reviewing applications
  • Student typically notified of a decision within 48 business hours of the weekly funding meeting

SUCCESS STORIES

Professional Clothing

Professional Clothing

“I am a recipient of the one-time grant of $200 to support the purchase of professional clothing… This summer I had the amazing opportunity to intern at the United States House of Representatives. Because of [this funding] I was able to purchase professional clothing for this position and feel confident about my presentation. I lost my job during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, I have experienced a lot of stress about the future, but this grant alleviated some of that.”

– BA Student, LPS ‘21


Airline Tickets

Flight and Laptop

“During the depopulation of campus in March 2020 because of COVID-19, I received a flight ticket to go to my sister’s place in Canada. I also received a laptop to do my online work. The flight ticket and laptop have been really helpful. The ticket was booked for me when I couldn’t afford one myself and I was even given an extra bag. As for the laptop, it allowed me to do my work without having to worry about technical difficulties. My previous laptop was old, and I frequently got my work done at the library before the pandemic, so I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to even watch my lectures let alone work on assignments when I moved to my sisters’ place. It arrived really quickly, too.”

– BA Student, College ’20


Winter Clothes

Winter Clothing

“I received very generous grant of $300 to assist me in the purchase of winter clothes. This is a substantial gift to me and will enable me to buy warmer, proper boots for winter and a few other winter things. On a very tight family and personal budget due to my father’s unemployment, I am working to earn as much money as I can through my student job with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia… I am especially thankful for my opportunities at Penn and I intend to work very hard to achieve my long-term goal of becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner.”

– BSN Student, School of Nursing ’23


Laptop

Laptop

“Recently, my laptop broke and a repair would have cost near to 1000 dollars. Through the Penn Emergency that you are a donor for, I was able to get a replacement laptop for no charge, which I’m truly grateful for. I’m an undergraduate senior studying computer science and business at the university’s management and technology program. Technology is important to me and is engrained within my studies here at Penn.”

– BSE Student, SEAS ‘20


Technology Repair

Technology repair

“My apartment was damaged by rainwater coming from a broken drainage pipe. The water soaked into the room and damaged my works and stuffs, particularly my laptop. The grant you gave me significantly makes me able to repair my laptop and recover my invaluable data, especially my dissertation. Above all, this also makes me feel that I am not alone, but a part of Penn family. I am very honored and proud to be a Penn student.”

– PhD student, Weitzman School of Design ’21


Academic Advancement

Academic Advancement

“I am applying for the Moelis Advance Access Program in hopes of continuing my education at Penn with a Wharton MBA, which requires testing that I would not have been able to register and study for without this grant. I recognize the generosity of donors like you and I am grateful for this opportunity. I am looking forward to graduating this May and continuing your legacy of contributing to our alma mater. I hope to help Penn students and open doors for them like you have helped me.”

– BA Student, College ’19


Medical Expenses

Medical Expense

“As a former foster youth who aged out of care, I am a completely independent student and thus solely responsible for all my expenses. Because of this, even with the financial aid I receive from Penn, working as much as possible, and adhering to a strict monthly budget, there is little if any wiggle room financially. This in and of itself can feel very precarious and stressful, but also means that there no room for anything to go awry. After being diagnosed with a chronic illness and having to undergo a variety of procedures, I have incurred a significant amount of medical bills. Therefore, I truly cannot articulate how impactful it was to receive this grant to pay off a portion of my medical expenses. A tremendous burden has been lifted, and I cannot thank you enough for helping make this happen.”

– BA Graduate College ’20, SP2 Student ’21

The University of Pennsylvania values diversity and seeks talented students, faculty, and staff from diverse backgrounds. The University of Pennsylvania does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status or any other legally protected class status in the administration of its admissions, financial aid, educational or athletic programs, or other University-administered programs or in its employment practices.