The Cougar Emergency Fund is a grant administered through the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (SFA), established through the generous gifts of alumni and friends of the University of Houston. It provides current degree-seeking students with assistance when an imminent, extraordinary need is identified, and when students find themselves dealing with a personal or family emergency which creates uncertainty in being able to meet the costs associated with attending school.
While it is not intended to cover expenses that could have been anticipated prior to the start of the term (like tuition, fees, housing, etc.); the Fund is intended to assist students who experience unexpected crises that arise during the current semester.
- Examples of unexpected crises may include:
- mechanical issues with transportation preventing a student from attending classes
- unexpected medical bills not covered by insurance
- travel expenses to attend a funeral for an immediate family member
- natural disaster-related costs due to lost books or transportation to school
- a recent, involuntary job loss lasting more than four weeks
- Students are expected to borrow their full student loan eligibility prior to receiving funding from the CEF.
- The Cougar Emergency Fund may not be used for optional expenses.
- Detailed receipts are necessary for all grant approvals.
- Funds are available to currently enrolled undergraduate or graduate students, with priority going to students enrolled full-time (12 hours for undergraduates, 9 hours for graduate students). Students must be in both academic and disciplinary good standing as defined by university policies and procedures. Citizenship and permanent resident status are not requirements; all students are eligible to apply.
- U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens are asked to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the current academic year to allow the University to connect students with every type of funding available, maximizing how we can assist them financially.
- The award amount for those completing the application is determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on the student’s expenses, and is capped at $1,500. Funds will be paid to the student through direct disbursement either through a designated bank account or issuance of a check. Students are encouraged to make sure they have stablished a refund preference is or update their refund preference to receive funds electronically as paper checks can take up to 10 days to be issued.
- Funding is limited, if funds are exhausted at the time a completed application is received, we will be unable to provide assistance.
Application and Award Process
The student may contact the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (SFA) to request a Cougar Emergency Fund application by calling (713) 743-1010, option 5. If the student's circumstances appear to be appropriate for grant approval, the form will be loaded to the student's myUH To Do List. The student must complete the form and upload it, along with all indicated supporting documentation, to their myUH account. Failure to submit a completed form, including supporting documentation, will result in the assistance being denied.
- For U.S. citizens and permanent residents, SFA will determine the student’s eligibility for federal, state and other institutional funds, prior to offering Cougar Emergency Fund. SFA will also coordinate Cougar Emergency Fund with the student’s other financial aid.
- The decision will be emailed to the student by the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid and eligible assistance will be viewable through the student’s myUH account.
- Cougar Emergency Funds will be credited to the student’s account. Students who have balances due to the University may still be eligible to have these funds refunded directly to them, according to their established refund preference at RefundSelection.com.