Emergency financial assistance

You may be eligible for an emergency loan or other funding resources if you've experienced an unexpected emergency expense or extenuating circumstances that you couldn't have planned for.

Please contact us for more information about this program or to learn about other types of emergency financial assistance UCalgary offers.


To be eligible for emergency funding you must:

  • Be a full-time UCalgary student enrolled in the current term (meaning, you must be taking nine units or more per term for the fall and winter terms)
    • Part-time students are considered on a case-by-case basis
  • Demonstrate your financial resources and have a plan as to how the loan will be repaid
  • Not have overdue fees or fines (Note: emergency loan funds can't be used to cover debts from other university departments such as tuition, fees, library fines, residence, and so on.)
  • Have used all available assets and resources to support your education prior to applying for an emergency loan
  • Show satisfactory academic standing in a previous academic year, if applicable (the minimum GPA accepted is 2.00)
  1. Student Emergency Loan (SEL)

    The Student Emergency Loan (SEL) is a short-term, interest-free loan available to full-time students who are experiencing unexpected difficulties meeting essential living expenses (food, rent, emergent medical expense, or one-time emergency expense).

    • SELs can’t be issued to pay credit card bills, car payments, insurance, other non- essential expenses, and/or debts to other university departments.

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    Apply for this if you have a specific emergency expense and can repay a loan at a later date.

    Eligibility:

    • Undergraduate students (domestic and international)
    • Graduate students (domestic and international)
  2. Weingarten Undergraduate Emergency Bursary

    The Weingarten Undergraduate Emergency Bursary is to assist undergraduate graduate students with unexpected and unforeseen temporary financial need (such as theft, car accidents, unexpected medical expenses, and so on).

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    Apply for this if you have an emergent, temporary, or unexpected need that may impede your ability to complete your studies.

    Eligibility:

    • Undergraduate students (domestic and international)
  3. Students’ Union Student Hardship Assistance Fund (SHAF)

    The Student Hardship Assistance Fund (SHAF) was created to assist students who demonstrate financial need. SHAF is a fund of last resort that provides short term financial help due to unexpected and emergent circumstances encountered by the applicant. The SHAF’s purpose is to help the applicant to remain enrolled at UCalgary.

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    Apply for this if you have a financial need due to an unexpected/emergent circumstance and you’ve exhausted all other forms of student aid.

    Eligibility:

    • Undergraduate students (domestic and international)
  4. The Graduate Student Association (GSA) Emergency Bursary

    The Graduate Student Association (GSA) Emergency Bursary is to assist graduate students with unexpected and unforeseen temporary financial need (such as theft, car accidents, unexpected medical expenses, and so on).

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    Apply for this if you have an emergent, temporary, or unexpected need that may impede your ability to complete your studies.

    Eligibility:

    • Graduate students (domestic and international)
  5. The Graduate Student Association (GSA) Support Bursary

    The Graduate Student Association (GSA) Support Bursary is to assist graduate students with bridging a financial gap that would otherwise impede the student’s ability to complete their studies (and is not deemed to be emergent/unexpected).

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    Apply for this if you need assistance bridging a non-emergent or unexpected financial gap that would impede your ability to continue your studies.

    Eligibility:

    • Graduate students (domestic and international)

Funding can be provided for students facing a wide range of unexpected or extenuating circumstances. Some common examples of emergent circumstances include:

  • Medical emergencies
  • Loss of employment
  • Theft and accidents
  • Housing issues 
  • Mandatory quarantine expenses for travel required for studies
  • Graduate program delays

Eligible students are encouraged to apply even if your circumstance doesn’t fit the above examples. Please note that emergency financial aid cannot be used to cover tuition or fees.

Undergraduate students:

If you’re experiencing financial concerns, contact an Enrolment Services advisor to discuss resources available and plan your next steps.

If you have a sufficient emergency, your advisor will refer you to apply for emergency financial assistance and you’lll be granted access to the Undergraduate Emergency Funding Application accessible through your Student Centre (my.ucalgary.ca).

Graduate students:

Contact an Enrolment Services Advisor or email the Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) to discuss your situation and determine which resources best fit your needs.

The GSA Emergency and Support Bursary applications can be accessed here.

On each emergency funding application, students must state their financial resources and expenses to determine financial need.

To verify that applicants have a legitimate financial need we require documentation related to your extenuating circumstance. Required information/documentation may be requested from applicants after submitting an initial application. For example, a student facing housing issues may be required to submit a rental agreement or invoice.

After submitting an application, the Student Emergency Funding Committee will conduct an initial review and respond to the applicant within two business days. If more information/documentation is required, the applicant will be given five days business days to respond.

Successful recipients will be paid by direct deposit to their bank account once they’ve submitted their banking information to us. Disbursements are scheduled for the 10 and 25 of each month (or the day before it those dates fall on a non-business day).

Banking information instructions can be found here.  

If you don’t have a Canadian bank account, please be sure to enter a Canadian address so a cheque can be issued.

Undergraduate students can submit additional questions about applications to emergency.funding@ucalgary.ca or you can contact our Enrolment Services advisors for details.   

Graduate students can submit addition questions about emergency funding to governance.gsa@ucalgary.ca.

Frequently Asked Questions

If travel is required for academic reasons, emergency funding can be used towards mandatory quarantine if costs have already been incurred. Applicants will be asked to provide receipts to verify their quarantine expenses before receiving a reimbursement.

  • Acceptable example: A student required to travel outside of Canada to conduct experiments needed for their research project at a collaborating laboratory.

    This student would be eligible for emergency funding.
  • Unacceptable example: A student left Canada to visit family and friends for a holiday.

    This student would not be eligible for emergency funding.

If you’re a graduate student and you haven’t yet booked your quarantine accommodation, please apply to the three day mandatory hotel stay support program by completing the UCalgary arrival survey.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, laptops are considered an essential item for online learning. As such, emergency laptop replacement requests are considered for emergency funding and will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Applicants are required to provide a receipt with the purchase to be eligible for a reimbursement.

Part-time students may be eligible on case-by-case basis.

Applications for most emergency funding resources are open year-round, and we accept applications on an ongoing basis.