The Dean's Office of Columbia Engineering and the Engineering Graduate Student Council (EGSC) have partnered to create a SEAS COVID-19 Emergency Fund for registered doctoral students at Columbia Engineering who have urgent and time-sensitive COVID-19-related financial emergencies that cannot be addressed by any other source. Grants may vary in amount but will not exceed $500.

Eligibility: Who Can Apply

  • Students must be currently registered in SEAS doctoral programs.
  • Expenses must be immediate and directly related to the student. Expenses that are anticipated beyond May 31, 2020, do not qualify for the Emergency Fund.
  • Expenses must be for new circumstances that are clearly related to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Selection: How Grantees Are Selected

The fund is intended to meet a variety of needs. Applications will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis provided that they meet the “Eligibility” criteria above. Priority is reserved for those cases in which the applicant does not have access to additional means. Applications will be evaluated based on the criteria below.

  • Is the expressed need immediate?
  • Is the need directly related to COVID-19?
  • Does the need pertain directly to the student’s own or a dependent’s circumstances versus someone else’s (such as a roommate or partner)? 
  • Does the applicant have existing debt that has been significantly exacerbated by COVID-19?
  • Does the need arise from medical, health-related, or other personal conditions that have caused additional financial strain as a result of COVID-19?
  • Has the applicant exhausted all other possible resources, including personal assets, family and personal networks, and the various Columbia and public/government/community resources?

Following is a list of examples of the kinds of circumstances that would warrant relief from the Emergency Fund:

  • A student who has expended resources to provide care for a dependent or other family member that otherwise would not have been necessary outside of COVID-19 and is not covered by any other source.  
  • A student who experiences a loss of income from not being able to report to work in-person during stay-at-home order, resulting in inability to pay for food and/or rent.
  • A student who needed to evacuate from a field research site to return home immediately, incurring unanticipated expenses from substantially increased airfare and change fees.

Application Instructions

Applicants must complete this online form for full consideration. Applications must be accompanied by any supporting documentation such as receipts and affidavits to substantiate the request. Review of applications will begin immediately. 

We will be conducting a round of funding beginning Friday, May 22. To be considered, please submit the application materials by Monday, May 25. If you have any questions or concerns, please write to Yannick Brookes ([email protected]).

Documentation Required

Upon Application

  • Detailed description of how COVID-19 has affected student’s circumstances and created this emergent need.
  • Estimated expenses through May 31, 2020, demonstrating impact from COVID-19.
  • Other documentation as applicable to the specific nature of the request.

Upon Request

  • Applicants may be asked to verify monthly expenses, debts, or personal exigencies resulting from COVID-19 (this information will be kept confidential, viewed only by the Office of Graduate Student Affairs).


This limited fund was seeded through contributions from the Dean's Office of Columbia Engineering and the Engineering Graduate Student Council (EGSC).

Application Link

Please make sure you have read the full application criteria on this site.