International Center Emergency Fund

The International Center Student Emergency Fund provides financial support for unusual and unforeseen emergency expenses. Grants are limited and available to F-1 or J-1 visa holders currently enrolled at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor.  These emergency grants are intended to provide monetary support to those whose unexpected circumstances have greatly impacted their ability to stay in the U.S. and progress through their studies at U-M. 

The funding is evaluated by a committee on a case by-case basis considering the need, circumstance, and any other funding support received.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Applicant must have an immediate financial hardship resulting from an unforeseen circumstance
  • Applicant must be a currently enrolled at the Ann Arbor campus
  • Applicant must be in good immigration standing and making satisfactory progress towards degree completion
  • Applicant must complete the International Student Emergency Fund application and submit supporting documentation
  • Applicant must have not have already received emergency funding from the IC in the current academic year

Expenses Usually Not Covered

(this list is not exhaustive):

  • Tuition, fees, and study abroad costs
  • Costs associated with renewing visa or most standard immigration applications (ex: post completion OPT).
  • Most flights to/from the U.S.
  • Expenses not connected to life in the U.S. (ex: a parent’s medical expenses, housing outside of Ann Arbor area)
  • Non-essential utilities (ex: cable TV, gym membership), automobile repairs, household, or furniture costs not related to damage or theft
  • Technology purchases for laptops/printers/etc. not related to theft.
  • Regularly anticipated, fixed expenses (i.e. car loan, phone bill)
  • Costs for entertainment, recreation, non-emergency travel or other non-essential expenses

Examples of Expenses Covered

(this list is not exhaustive):

  • Unexpected personal medical or dental emergency (first consult the IC insurance advisor (ihi@umich.edu) to see if your insurance will cover any of these costs). This can include medical expenses for spouses/children if they are also living with you in the U.S.
  • Living expenses (rent, health insurance, groceries) due to change in financial status related to death of a family member, political turmoil, or natural disaster back home.
  • Replacement of household items lost due to burglary, fire, flood, or other disaster.

Application Process

Students requesting emergency funding should complete the International Student Emergency Fund Application with supporting documentation. Staff will follow up with applicants to confirm receipt of their materials. If materials are missing from your application, this can delay processing time.

A committee will review your application materials and applicants will generally be notified as soon as possible (typically 5-10 business days). The process may be delayed if additional information is needed for review. If your application is approved for support, it will generally take a couple of weeks for the funds to be disbursed via your student account.

The number of students who can be supported by the International Center’s emergency fund sources is subject to the availability of funds contributed by donors of the University. This fund is not a scholarship and does not support expenses of tuition/fees. It is designed to assist students through unanticipated emergencies when other funding sources are not available.

Emergency Grant Taxes:

Funds received are generally subject to tax withholding and processed accordingly by the University. For more information about these taxes or to see if your country of citizenship has a tax treaty with the U.S., please review the following links:

Additional IC Emergency Resources:

Many students qualify for Travel Assistance through their International Health Insurance (IHI) plan. F and J students on GradCare are also eligible for Travel Assistance. The Travel Assistance Insurance Company is GeoBlue.

If your emergency requests are related to travel because of your personal or an immediate family member’s health, please review the “Travel Assistance” information in the Insurance Plan Documents section of the IC website, particularly the Detailed Description of GeoBlue Services.

GeoBlue offers several kinds of services:

  • If you are in the hospital, GeoBlue will help cover the costs related to bringing a family member to the U.S. to visit you.
  • Assistance to students who must return home due to a family medical emergency.
  • Assistance in cases of serious illness or death.

F-1 and J-1 students covered by GradCare should contact the IC insurance office if they need to use the GeoBlue coverage. Their GeoBlue coverage is the same as the coverage described in the Detailed Description of GeoBlue Services, but the IC insurance office must contact GeoBlue first in order for you to use this coverage.

Please make an appointment with the International Health Insurance advising team if you have questions about Travel Assistance or are overwhelmed by your medical expenses to see what your options may be. Click here for more information about International Health Insurance resources.