The top of Johnson Chapel seen through bushes and trees


The College established a Student Emergency Fund in the fall of 2020 for students who experience financial strain and need supplemental resources due to temporary hardship. The funds distributed may cover expenses such as unforeseen medical costs, damage to educational materials and emergency travel.

Note: Both financial aid and emergency funds are designated to support expenses during periods of enrollment. Students are responsible for living and personal expenses during periods between academic terms.

The College was the distributor of HEERF (rounds I, II, III) and used both block grants and the Emergency Application as the vehicle to distribute those federal funds. The eligibility criteria for these federal grants were specific to a variety of circumstances related to the pandemic. The federal emergency grants were particularly helpful for travel and storage costs due to pandemic-related circumstances.

Amherst maintains a generous financial aid program and is among the minority in offering significant enhancements for students. Each student’s budget used to determine financial aid eligibility includes allowances for travel and personal expenses. Thus, the emergency fund does not expect to receive requests for routine travel or storage between semesters. This fund has been established to meet unique categories not already covered, while recognizing that no college can meet all personal costs for students. Non-recurring and unanticipated expenses in which support can be tied to educational success will be considered for students receiving Amherst need-based financial aid.

Some examples of costs that are unanticipated and non-recurring emergencies are:


  • Medical expenses that are not already covered by other means 
  • Essential educational-related materials that are lost, damaged, stolen 
  • Transportation, food, or lodging as a result of unexpected emergency circumstances


While documentation is not universally required, in some instances it will be helpful. The committee may ask for supporting documentation.

To support the purchase of an education-related computer, we can refer students to a student loan designated for this purpose through Financial Aid or students can request a short-term loaner computer from the Information Technology department.

The emergency fund will not be able to approve all requests, but can assist in directing toward other funding options, which can include loan options.  

PLEASE NOTE:  Students may continue to request support though the Student Emergency Fund as the HEERF III funds remain. These grants are for the purpose of meeting emergency needs due to coronavirus and cost of attendance items during this time. Student requests will be considered based on fund availability and for emergency needs related to student educational and living costs. The total maximum grant amount awarded under HEERF III will be $3,500 (either through a single request or multiple requests). The HEERF status page is updated quarterly.

TEXT UPDATED:  October 19, 2021

A photo of the Amherst College war memorial at dawn

Student Emergency Fund Form

Please use the following link to submit your application to the Student Emergency Fund and Higher Education Emergency Relief Funding form. Further instructions are on the form page. (NOTE: Login required)