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Graduate Access Emergency Retention Grants, 2012-2013

Policy & Guidelines


Emergency retention grants are intended to assist graduate students with immediate financial assistance to prevent students from withdrawing from a program due to sudden, catastrophic financial hardship prior to completing their degree.  Retention funds should not be perceived as an alternative "reward" system for students with high GPA's, Graduate Assistants, or students who did not receive another scholarship/grant.  The funds are intended to address immediate, short-term financial crises that would impede the student's ability to complete their degree program.

Emergency retention funds for graduate students should be perceived as funds of last resort when traditional financial avenues have been exhausted.  If a student requests retention funds to minimize subsidized, unsubsidized and Perkins loan indebtedness, this alone is not a sufficient reason to approve the request. A student who prefers not want to work or borrow a federal student loan is not considered a special circumstance.

Emergency retention funds must be utilized with retention in mind.  The recommending department and dean must be able to show that the nominated student: 1) has a catastrophic financial hardship that, but for this award, would result in their withdrawal; 2) has met all guidelines specified herein; 3) is in good standing and is progressing successfully and appropriately in their program (up-to-date with all required forms, meeting degree milestones on scheduled, good GPA, etc.); and 4) has a strong likelihood of success completing her/his graduate program with the assistance of this one-time award.  Awards may vary within reason, but should never exceed the immediate financial necessity.  Funds offered to a student should generally not exceed $3,500 without approval from the dean or senior associate dean of the graduate college.

The Graduate College Student Funding & Awards Committee will audit applications to ensure consistency with this policy and appropriate use of these funds.



Emergency retention funds are used for graduate student retention and derived from UNLV graduate fee-driven Access funds or State of Nevada funds.

Employees (and past employees) of UNLV are eligible as long as all guidelines and policy criteria are met. The senior associate dean of the graduate college must approve all requests for employees (or past employees) seeking retention funds.

NSHE and UNLV favoritism and nepotism policies apply: Employees must not engage in any activities that place them in a conflict of interest between their official activities and any other interest or obligation. Conflict of interest requires all employees and officers to disqualify themselves from participating in a decision when a financial or personal interest is present (BOR 03/06). The director of Financial Aid & Scholarships should be contacted for policy interpretations.



By definition, emergency retention funds originate from limited resources.  A student must provide a clear and reasonable explanation why he or she needs additional support, including how much additional support is needed and for what reason. A request for funds without a purposeful description of the student's qualified need and scholarly situation will be denied.  Emergency retention funds should be considered a "one-time" occurrence if offered to a student, and the student must be in good academic standing to qualify for this award.

All domestic student nominees must have a current FAFSA on record. A domestic graduate student who does not have a valid FAFSA on file will not be considered for retention funds, as preference will be given to those with documented financial need.  International students may qualify for a graduate access retention award despite their inability to submit a FAFSA.  

Students may only be nominated for an emergency retention grant by their department with support from their academic dean.  These awards will be available until designated Graduate Access funds are fully expended for a fiscal year.



These awards are available year-round on an "as needed" basis, though there are limited campus funds available for this type of award each year.  Nominating faculty must have support from their department and academic dean before submitting an application, and all supporting documents and required information must be provided or the request will be automatically denied.  These awards should be a last choice, worst case scenario safety net, and requests from academic colleges should be internally reviewed, regulated and limited.  To nominate a student in need, please submit a completed and signed Graduate Access Emergency Retention Grant form; applications will be reviewed by the Graduate College on an ongoing basis, and decisions will be rendered within 10 working days.


November 16, 2012

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