Yale Daily News

Starting this fall, graduate and professional students enrolled in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences can apply for the Dean’s Emergency Fund, which will provide financial assistance up to $2,000 for emergencies.

Following years of graduate student advocacy, Dean of GSAS Lynn Cooley established the fund in spring. The fund intends to cover medical expenses, travel related to a death in the immediate family and temporary housing displacement due to unforeseen circumstances such as a fire, per the University website. According to Cooley, the school provided graduate and professional students with stipends to cover a variety of expenses, such as housing costs and Yale Health services, even before the emergency fund was created. While these resources already allowed graduate students to experience Yale during unforeseen financial struggles, students occasionally found themselves in need of additional funds, Cooley wrote.

“Our stipends are livable but by no means leave us with a lot of wiggle room when an unexpected expense comes up, such as a death in the family we may have to travel for,” Graduate Student Assembly facilities and healthcare chair Jenette Creso GRD ’23 said. “The emergency fund allows graduate students to apply for financial help from the graduate school when they are not able to afford these emergencies themselves.”

According to Associate Dean of Graduate Academic Support Richard Sleight, around 70 percent of students who applied for the fund so far have qualified for support. The application process is simple and awards do not require repayment, Cooley said. She added that the school encourages students to contribute to the fund at any later time when they are able in order to help future students.

In an interview with the News, Creso said the stress associated with living paycheck-to-paycheck without a safety net previously posed stress on graduate and professional students.

“Having an option for us to seek help from a source we can trust makes a huge difference,” Creso said.

The assembly President Lucylle Armentano GRD ’21 said medical treatment fees, such as root canal surgery, can be covered by the new fund. Armentano said that she and her graduate assembly colleagues were most concerned with students who would otherwise have to leave their academic program as a result of their financial situation.

“The hope is that this fund allows for students to be able to continue to pursue their studies,” Armentano added.

The fund will also assist students like Zachariah Michielli GRD ’22, who lost a parent last year and did not yet know about the existence of the program. Michielli added that the fund offers “stress relief” from the burdens associated with emergency expenses.

12-month living costs for doctorate students are $30,723 according to the GSAS.

John Besche | john.besche@yale.edu