More information about the Student Emergency Fund
April 6, 2020

Dear Student,

As President Freeman shared in her message today, we’re aware many of you might be struggling financially, especially with the sudden circumstances related to COVID-19. NIU wants to provide support to help you successfully complete this semester.

NIU’s new Student Emergency Fund will provide limited emergency financial assistance to currently enrolled, degree-seeking students who can’t meet immediate, essential expenses caused either by temporary hardship or exacerbated challenges related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The fund is made possible through a partnership between the NIU Foundation, the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office, the Office of the Provost, Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the Office of the Dean of Students. 

So that we can help more students, the maximum possible grant will be $500 per student. We’ll also connect applicants to any other available resources on campus and throughout their local communities that could help them overcome the challenges they face on their degree paths.

, fill out this simple form describing the resources and/or funding you need to successfully pursue your studies for the rest of the semester.

Students who complete the form will be contacted within 24 hours by a member of the Center for Student Assistance who will identify resources appropriate to student needs. Our goal is to provide funding decisions within three to four days of the request. Any awarded grants will be sent via check or directly deposited into student accounts.

All degree-seeking students, including undergraduate, graduate, law, undocumented and full- and part-time students, are eligible for the grants.

Examples of expenses that can be covered include:

  • Technology needs to complete online spring courses, including laptops, printers and scanners, software, access to WiFi, expansion of data plans, etc.
  • Books and other essential academic supplies
  • Basic personal needs such as emergency housing, food, toiletries and transportation
  • Emergency medical, dental or mental health expenses not covered by insurance (ie. eyeglasses, medication, emergency/unexpected procedure)
  • Childcare needs
  • Costs to travel home unexpectedly, travel to and from work or for educational purposes
  • Travel related to the death or emergency of an immediate family member
  • Safety-related needs, including the needs of victims of domestic violence
  • Replacement of belongings lost in a fire or natural disaster
  • Basic utilities


Types of expenses generally not covered include:

  • Tuition, fees, health insurance, study abroad costs and outstanding debt to the university
  • Campus housing
  • Health insurance costs
  • Non-emergency medical-related expenses
  • Non-essential costs, such as those for entertainment, recreation and non-emergency travel
  • Non-essential utilities (cable costs not associated with WiFi)
  • Parking tickets and traffic fines
  • Technology not related to education (gaming systems)


The fund can be used to meet a short-term financial need, but is not designed to replace or supplement financial aid. Funds are awarded as a grant and do not need to be repaid. Funds, though, can count as income and might be subject to federal and/or state taxes.

If you currently receive financial aid, we’ll consult with the Financial Aid Office because this grant could affect your already awarded financial aid.

Questions? Contact the
Center for Student Assistance at or 815-753-8300.

Interested in donating? Please visit the NIU Foundation’s Student Emergency Fund Donation Page.

We’re determined to make the best of today to ensure a better future for all.

Forward Together,


Kelly Wesener Michael, Ed.D.

Associate Vice President for Student Affairs

Chief Student Affairs Officer and Dean of Students

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