Graduate Student Emergency Medical Assistance Fund

Proposal prepared by GSG Vice-President and Ad-Hoc committee, March 2020

Approved by GSG Senate Business meeting, April 1st, 2020

Mission Statement:

To assist graduate students with extraordinary medical costs and prevent disruptions in education.


Currently not open for the applications as we are organizing fundraising for the fund. 

Rationale: The Graduate Student Government (GSG) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham is aware of important issues affecting graduate student health care. Some students experience real financial hardships due to medical costs.

Account Purpose Summary:

The Graduate Student Emergency Medical Assistance Fund (GSEMAF) will provide awards to graduate students that are represented by GSG as per GSG constitution, who have incurred excessive medical expenses not covered by insurance that may adversely affect their graduate studies.

Thus, the GSG would like to advance the Graduate Student Emergency Medical Assistance Fund (GSEMAF) in order to provide financial assistance to students who have extraordinary medical costs. Monies will be provided by students, faculty, staff and community members who choose to donate, allowing us to care for our community.

This proposal includes A) a system of governance for the GSEMAF, B) a financial plan, C) eligibility criteria, and D) award limitations.


The following positions/entities will be responsible:

  1. The roles of the Travel Grants Officer will include the following:
  1. Serving as a point of contact for graduate students seeking information about the GSEMAF or wishing to apply.
  2. Coordinating efforts by the budget committee for fundraising and guideline revisions.
  3. Informing the GSG Senate, Executive Committee and Budget Committee of the status of the GSEMAF.
  4. Acting as a liaison for the Assistant Vice President (AVP) for Student Health and Wellbeing.
  5. Maintaining a general knowledge about all aspects of the fund.
  1. The Budget Committee will be responsible for
  1. revising the GSEMAF guidelines as needed
  2. fund-raising every year for the GSEMAF in collaboration with UAB Advancement and the AVP for Student Health and Wellbeing.
  1. The Assistant Vice President for Student Health and Wellbeing will be responsible for:
  1. application review and
  2. award disbursement in accordance with the GSEMAF guidelines.

GSG travel grants officer and the Budget Committee will not receive nor review any confidential information.




We believe that the entire UAB community stands to gain from the establishment of the GSEMAF because loss of graduate students and/or graduate student productivity affects research progress, teaching effectiveness, other students, colleagues, mentors, and the local economy. We believe that mentors and their departments have a special stake in supporting graduate student health since disruptions in work affect the productivity of research groups and departments. Therefore, our fund-raising efforts will primarily target graduate students, mentors, and departments at UAB while providing avenues for community involvement as well. These efforts will include but not be limited to:

  1. An opportunity to donate to GSEMAF via the GSG website and the FIRE (Fueling Innovation, Research, and Education) crowdsourcing.
  2. Participation in special fundraising campaigns at UAB.
  3. Email campaigns introducing the fund and requesting donations from graduate students, mentors, and departments

Each year’s fund-raising cycle will run from August 1st to July 31st.


100% of incoming donations will be used for graduate student emergency medical assistance. The Graduate Student Government will run the fund-raising efforts, under the guidance of the UAB Advancement Office and the AVP of Student Health and Wellbeing.

Financial oversight:

Once funds have been transferred to an account-type that permits disbursement, the AVP for Student Health and Wellbeing should oversee disbursement. The Travel Grants officer will ensure with the help of the Budget Committee that the donation platforms and avenues are active and open.

Application Review and Disbursement of Funds:

All applications will be reviewed by the AVP for Student Health and Wellbeing and the arrangements to disburse the funds will be made by their office. GSG’s Travel grants officer will only have access to and maintain a record of any testimonies and other marketing materials made available during the application process.

GSG travel grants officer will not receive nor review any confidential information.


  1. Real, demonstrable financial need (a copy of the student’s most recent bank statement and relevant medical bills) that is a direct result of medical costs or conditions.
  2. Need that is greater than $500 after insurance coverage has been applied.
  3. The applicant must be a graduate student in good academic standing and currently enrolled for 9 credit hours or full-time student at UAB, unless the student is unable to register for 9 credit hours due to the qualifying medical emergency.


  1. An applicant may not receive more than 10% of the total fund balance as of July 31st of the preceding academic year.
  2. Only one award may be distributed per qualifying medical emergency.
  3. Over the course of their studies, a graduate student will be eligible for one award per two academic years.

Students with needs exceeding these guidelines are encouraged to petition for additional support. These petitions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

All awards are dependent on the availability of funds.