The Office for Student Success understands that there are costs associated with being a student at Washington University that fall outside the parameters of a standard financial aid package. We recognize that, oftentimes, these costs arise suddenly, may shift from semester to semester, and fall outside of what is considered part of a student’s traditional “cost of attendance.” With this in mind, the Office for Student Success, in collaboration with several partners across campus, is committed to ensuring that students are neither unnecessarily burdened nor negatively impacted by the costs associated with essential purchases and/or unexpected emergency situations that may arise during their time at WashU.

To support students who face financial barriers that arise beyond their cost of attendance (including tuition and room and board fees), in 2017, the Office for Student Success began coordinating various financial resources. What began as a single fund for emergency aid has grown over the past four years into six different funds that provide varied support reflecting common costs which arise for undergraduate students.

The Student Success Fund and affiliate funds are need-based sources of financial assistance available to full-time undergraduate students. Should students find themselves in need of financial assistance, we recommend they apply for support in the Office for Student Success after reviewing our available funds and determining which fund most aligns with one’s unique situation. In some cases, students may submit more than one fund application across an academic year. This is allowed by the various funds we operate, but we ask students who are planning to submit additional applicants to review the funding instructions prior to each application that they submit.

We also understand that many students are facing unique financial barriers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have financial needs that have arisen because of COVID-19, we recommend also consulting the University’s COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund resource, which will accept applications from September 1 to September 21, 2020. Students are allowed to apply for funds through both the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund and the Student Success Fund, but should be aware that funding from one resource will be taken into consideration when assessing supplemental applications.


Student Success Fund:

    • Designed to remove financial barriers or strains related to low-income students’ successful progression to and through their university experience.
    • Grants may be used to fund:
        • Living expenses
        • Academic expenses
        • Medical expenses
        • Purchases related to post-graduation preparation or experiences
        • Computer and/or technology purchases
        • Costs associated with professional development opportunities
        • Emergency travel
        • Study abroad experiences

Student Union Mental Health Fund:

    • Designed to support low-income students who otherwise may be unable to afford mental health care services, including but not limited to:
        • Co-payments for therapy, counseling, or psychiatry appointments (on-going or emergency)
        • Transportation to and from mental health care appointments
        • Testing associated with mental health care treatment or diagnosis
        • Medication or related material purchases

Student Union Opportunity Fund:

    • Designed to facilitate equitable access to the various Student Union affiliated events that are organized across campus by helping to off-set the cost of participation in any SU student group activity, event, or program.

Civic Engagement Opportunity Fund:

    • Designed to provide funding for students from under-resources socio-economic backgrounds who require financial assistance in order to secure transportation or purchase resources related to projects pertaining to community and civic engagement.

Varsity Student-Athlete Opportunity Fund:

    • Jointly administered by the WashU Department of Athletics and the Office for Student Success in order to help qualifying student-athletes access the full student-athlete experience by removing financial barriers as allowed by the NCAA, including:
        • Competition or practice apparel or shoes
        • Equipment needed for competition or practice
        • Travel expenses for practice or competition
        • Medical/vision/dental expenses incidental to participation

Brown Family Travel Fund:

    • Fund details forthcoming

Processing for these funds usually takes about two weeks and may require follow-up conversations between the applicant and the Student Success Fund Coordinator. If students have specific inquiries or want to check on the status of their fund application, they can reach the Student Success Fund Coordinator by email or during her Virtual Drop-In Hours, which for the Fall semester will take place Sundays, Mondays, and Wednesday from 3-6pm and can be scheduled on Calendly up to one hour before a desired meeting. Except in very unique circumstances, the Student Success Fund Coordinator will be working remotely for the duration of Fall 2020.

Important Dates for Fall 2020:

  •  September 1, 2020 – Community Engagement Opportunity Fund (CEOF), Student Union Mental Health Fund (SUMHF), Student Union Opportunity Fund (SUOF), and Student Athlete Opportunity Fund (SAOF) applications open for Fall 2020
  • September 7 – Fall funding period for CEOF, SUMHF, SUOF, and SAOF begin
  • September 14 – Fall applications open and Fall funding period begins for Student Success Fund (SSF) and the Brown Family Travel Fund (BFTF)
  • January 8 – Fall funding period closes, no new Fall applications will be accepted at this point in time.

General Application Considerations:

Please keep in mind that these funds are not built to provide reimbursements for costs that students have already paid out of pocket except in very unique circumstances. Exceptions may be made; however, requests for reimbursement are usually subject to an extended processing time.

Additionally, even if you’re not sure which grant best matches your need, it is best for you to submit each request to only one grant process. Should you complete an application for one fund, it will automatically be considered for each grant and adjusted accordingly in the review process. Submitting more than one application to different funds for the same request will only extend the potential processing time for your application. That said, if you have multiple requests across different funds or within the same fund, please feel free to submit more than one grant request.

For example, if a student would like to apply for funding to pay dues for a student group and also requires support purchasing academic materials for the Fall semester, they are allowed to submit a request to the SUOF and SSF; however, should not submit their request for student group dues to both the SUOF and the SSF.

In another example, if a student needs support from the SSF in October and then again in December, they are welcome to submit both applications. Students are not limited in the number of requests they can submit each year; though some monetary limitations exist in what the Office for Student Success can provide as grants to students.