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Emergency Funds Program
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Relay now offers an Emergency Funds Program to support the community during unexpected crises. If an emergency such as an urgent medical need or loss of housing arises, we are here to help.

How it works:

  1. Apply: Complete the application on our website with necessary supporting documents.
  2. Review: We'll respond with our decision within 5 working days.
  3. Receive Support: If approved, financial assistance will be provided to deal with your immediate needs.


Frequently Asked Questions


What is the Emergency Student Fund?

  • Relay received limited funding to provide financial assistance for students who find themselves in an unexpected emergency situation that negatively impacts their (or their dependents’) health, safety, or wellbeing. Enrolled students may apply for funding up to $500 toward a one-time award during their lifetime at Relay. 

What is considered an emergency situation?

  • Students experiencing an emergency that requires immediate action to remedy harm to life, health, or property for themselves or their dependents may be considered a verified emergency. Emergencies within the past 14 calendar days from application submission may be considered. Funds may be used for the following:
    • Non-recurring emergency medical treatments such as hospitalization
    • Unexpected medication, prescription expenses

    • Replacement of belongings lost in a fire, floor, or other natural disaster

    • Safety-related needs such as changing a lock, emergency shelter, eviction

    • Food insecurity

    • Essential utilities such as water, gas, electricity, or internet

    • Unexpected travel due to a death in the family

What is not considered an emergency?

  • Students cannot apply for funds to support with recurring expenses or non-essentials listed below:

    • Tuition and fees

    • Certification, application, or test fees

    • Rent, mortgage payments

    • Consumer or non-essential expenses such as car loans, subscription services, entertainment, recreation costs

    • Expenses due to lack of planning

    • Health insurance

    • Legal fees

    • Study abroad costs

    • Non-essential utilities such as cable and phone

    • Non-emergency travel 

    • Medical expenses for a non-dependent family member or friend

How do I demonstrate an urgent need for financial assistance?

  • Students must complete the Emergency Student Fund application and describe the circumstances around their emergency. Please do your best to provide as much detail as possible. This information will not be shared with anyone outside of the committee reviewing your application. You will also need to provide documentation that shows the unexpected costs such as an invoice, a receipt if you’ve already paid and asking for a reimbursement, a medical bill, etc. This is required so that Student Financial Services (SFS) can ensure you have not yet met or exceeded your annual cost of attendance, and for committee review purposes. 

What is the application and review process?

  • Students can complete an application at You will receive a confirmation email of your submission. The committee will review all applications each Monday, or on the first work day upon return from a holiday or break. Committee members will make individual recommendations based on provided information and documentation. Based on a simple majority, a decision will be made, and you will be notified within 5 days of the committee decision. 

    • If more information is required, you will receive an email with next steps

    • If the decision is in your favor, you will be notified with next steps

    • If the decision is not in your favor, you will be notified with a clear reason why as well as other financial alternatives. Reasons for a declined decision may be due to one or more of the following:

      • The reason does not meet the criteria for emergency consideration

      • The emergency occurred outside of the 14-day timeframe

      • Documentation was not provided

      • The student is at or exceeds their cost of attendance

How much financial assistance is provided?

  • Students can request emergency funds once during their lifetime at Relay. Assistance up to $500 can be requested. The documentation that you provide must reflect the need for the amount requested. If the requested amount exceeds the documented amount and the application is approved, your funded amount will be lowered to match the documentation. 

If awarded, how will I receive the funds?

  • For student applications that have been approved, you will receive instructions to set up your direct deposit on your student Nelnet account. Funds will be issued within 3-5 business days from the confirmation email and will not go against your active tuition balance. You will receive it as a direct aid payment to your bank account. This is in an effort to avoid additional time from mailed and/or lost checks and processing times. 

If my application is rejected, can I appeal the decision?

  • Due to limited funding and an expected high level of applications, an appeal is not available as an option. However, you may reapply with additional documentation and new information for consideration.

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