Frequently Asked Questions

What emergency relief funds are available for undocumented students?

Undocumented students are eligible to apply for financial relief through NIU’s Student Emergency Fund.

Added 4/18/20

What emergency relief funds are available for international students?

International students are eligible to apply for financial relief through NIU’s Student Emergency Fund.

Added 4/18/20

What emergency funds are available to online students?

Students who are exclusively enrolled in an online program are eligible to apply for financial relief through NIU’s Student Emergency Fund.

Added 4/18/20

What is the maximum amount of assistance I can receive through the NIU Student Emergency Fund?

The maximum amount of assistance awarded through NIU’s Student Emergency Fund is $500. The average award is $250. Funds are limited and students who have not already received assistance will be given priority consideration. Students who do not receive the full funding of $500 will have the opportunity to reapply after Oct. 15.

Added 8/31/20

How do I apply for assistance from the NIU Student Emergency Fund? UPDATED

You can apply now through this simple form. Application review will begin Sept. 15. Due to the high volume of applications, the review process is taking longer than anticipated. Our goal is to have decisions as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.

Updated 9/15/20

I received an NIU CARES grant. Can I apply for additional assistance from NIU’s Student Emergency Fund?

Yes.

Added 5/18/20

Are May 2020 graduates eligible to receive assistance from the NIU Student Emergency Fund?

Unfortunately, students who have graduated and are not pursuing an additional degree at NIU are not eligible to receive an NIU Student Emergency Fund.

Added 4/20/20

I already applied for and received assistance from the NIU Student Emergency Fund. Am I eligible for an NIU CARES grant? UPDATED

Maybe. You may have qualified for an NIU CARES grant, even if you already received assistance from NIU’s Student Emergency Fund. NIU determined eligibility and has issued automatic CARE grants to students determined to have the greatest financial need and who met eligibility requirements. Please see our CARES Act FAQs for more information. In order to help as many students as possible, students who have not already received previous assistance will be given priority consideration for emergency funds.

Updated 9/23/20

I am not eligible for an NIU CARES grant and I already received assistance from the NIU Student Emergency Fund. Can I apply to receive more assistance from the SEF?

Maybe. You may apply for additional relief through NIU’s Student Emergency Fund. However, the maximum amount of assistance is $500, with an average award of $250. For example, if you already received $250 from the SEF, you may only be eligible for up to $250 in additional relief. Students who do not receive the full funding of $500 will have the opportunity to reapply after Oct. 15. If you already received $500 from the SEF, you are not eligible for additional relief.

Added 8/31/20

I applied for assistance through the NIU Student Emergency Fund but was denied. Can I apply again?

Yes.

Updated 5/29/20

Can I appeal the university’s decision if I am denied assistance from the Student Emergency Fund?

No. Appeals will not be considered.

Updated 5/18/20

I was enrolled in summer courses. Am I eligible for NIU Student Emergency Funding?

These funds are designed to help students continue their education; therefore, they are reserved for students who are currently enrolled in courses at NIU. If you are not enrolled in courses for the fall semester or have graduated and are not pursuing an additional degree at NIU, you are not eligible to receive funding.

Added 8/12/20

Do I need to be enrolled in fall courses in order to be eligible for NIU Student Emergency Funding?

Yes. NIU emergency funds are designed to help eligible students continue their education; therefore, they are reserved for students who are currently enrolled in courses at NIU.

Updated 8/12/20

I applied, did not receive support and need to appeal. Am I able to appeal the decision?

At this time, we are not able to accept appeals.

Updated 5/29/20

What students are eligible to apply for support and funding? UPDATED

These funds are designed to help students continue their education; therefore, they are reserved for students who are currently enrolled in courses at NIU. All degree-seeking students, including undergraduate, graduate, law, undocumented and full- and part-time students, are eligible for the grants and resources offered through our Student Emergency Fund. Students-at-large, those not admitted to a degree-granting program, are not eligible for the grants. The average award is $250. Application review will begin Sept. 15. Due to the high volume of applications, the review process is taking longer than anticipated. Our goal is to have decisions as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience. Students who do not receive the full funding of $500 will have the opportunity to reapply after Oct. 15. Any questions should be directed to the Center for Student Assistance.

Updated 9/15/20

Can anyone apply on behalf of students?

No. If you have questions, we encourage you to contact the Center for Student Assistance at studentassistance@niu.edu or 815-753-8300.

Updated 8/31/20

How will I receive the funding if my request is approved? UPDATED

Application review will begin Sept. 15. Due to the high volume of applications, the review process is taking longer than anticipated. Our goal is to have decisions as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.

The maximum amount of assistance awarded through NIU’s Student Emergency Fund is $500. The average award is $250. Students who do not receive the full funding of $500 will have the opportunity to reapply after Oct. 15.

Any awarded grants will be directly deposited into student accounts or sent via check. If you have not signed up for direct deposit, we strongly encourage you to sign-up for direct deposit now to receive your refund within 1- 2 business days after it has been processed. Signing up is easy! See instructions.

All printed refund checks will be mailed to your local address and are NOT available for pickup. Checks will arrive between 7-10 business days to your local address listed in MyNIU. If there is not a local address listed in MyNIU, the award check will go to the permanent address on file. Please make sure that your local address is current in MyNIU.

We ask for your patience. Any questions should be directed to the Center for Student Assistance.

Updated 9/15/20

Can I apply more than once? UPDATED

Students who do not receive full funding of $500 will have the opportunity to reapply after Oct. 15. In an attempt to fund as many students as possible, priority will be given to those students who have not received prior funding. The average grant award is $250. Application review will begin Sept. 15. Due to the high volume of applications, the review process is taking longer than anticipated. Our goal is to have decisions as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.

Updated 9/15/20

I currently owe a balance, could I get funding to put towards that balance? 

No. The grants offered through our Student Emergency Fund cannot be used to cover any tuition, fees, health insurance, study abroad costs or outstanding debt to the university. The Bursar’s Office has more information on payment policies.

Examples of covered expenses 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

Updated 9/3/20

What should I do if I’m not sure that my expense would be covered by the grant? UPDATED

We encourage all students in need to fill out this simple form describing the resources and/or funding they need to successfully pursue their studies. A list of immediate resources will be provided as part of the online application process. Application review will begin Sept. 15. Due to the high volume of applications, the review process is taking longer than anticipated. Our goal is to have decisions as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience. Grants awarded through the new Student Emergency Fund average $250 per student. If you have questions, we encourage you to contact the Center for Student Assistance at studentassistance@niu.edu or 815-753-8300.

Updated 9/15/20

Why is NIU only offering up to $500?

So that we can help more students, the maximum possible grant awarded through the Student Emergency Fund will be up to $500 per student.

I have family members in need. Can I get funding to help them?

The needs of family members are not covered expenses in the Student Emergency Fund. Grant awards must directly benefit student applicants to help them overcome any challenges they face on their degree paths.

Added 4/13/20


Apply Now

Questions?

Contact the Center for Student Assistance at studentassistance@niu.edu or 815-753-8300.

Interested in donating?

Please visit the NIU Foundation’s Student Emergency Fund Donation Page.