Stay Afloat Emergency Fund

Students sitting around a table smiling and talking with notebooks on the table in front of them

The Stay Afloat Student Emergency Fund is coordinated by the USF St. Petersburg Stay Afloat Review Committee.  The Stay Afloat Student Emergency Fund was created to help USF St. Petersburg undergraduate students with additional financial assistance in a time of need. This fund is a supplemental financial resource when students are unable to meet immediate and essential expenses due to unexpected, unforeseen, and unavoidable circumstances. Students may apply for funds when they have exhausted all other resources, including student loans. This funding does not have to be repaid.

The funding supports undergraduate students in emergency circumstances. The goal is to help prevent one emergency or unexpected expense from jeopardizing a student’s academic journey. The number of students who can be served by the fund is subject to the availability of funds. Funding is awarded on a case-by-case basis, and factors that are considered include the student’s financial need, the nature of the funding request, and the availability of funding. The fund is open to all currently enrolled undergraduate St. Petersburg campus students and priority will be given to students with the highest financial need. Please note that the Committee will review all applications but may not be able to fulfill all requests. 

Eligibility Requirements

  • Emergency funds are not intended to be a means of ongoing financial support. Assistance for emergencies will be limited to once per academic semester.
  • Student must be enrolled as a USF St. Petersburg home campus undergraduate student.
  • Student must have a minimum overall GPA of 2.0.
  • Student must demonstrate an emergency, one-time, unexpected financial hardship that hinders their ability to academically progress at USF.
  • Student must demonstrate high need and be fully utilizing their financial aid options per the Office of Student Financial Aid.  Note: A completed FAFSA is highly recommended so that we can determine what other funding options may be available to you. A FAFSA is not required for international students, undocumented students, and students enrolled in DACA.
  • Emergency funding amount must fit within their current financial aid package as determined by the Office of Financial Aid.  This means that the student must have room in their financial aid budget (unmet need in their Cost of Attendance) and have utilized already-awarded financial aid, including student loans.
  • Students must be able to provide documentation reflecting their financial emergency.  The documentation must clearly show both the student's name and the specific cost of the expense.  Examples of appropriate documentation include: a copy of a medical bill, a utility bill, or auto repair bill.
  • All applicants must meet with a member of the Stay Afloat Review Committee to review their application to ensure all documentation is complete for a decision to be made. Other options might be offered as a result of the meeting.

What is a Financial Emergency?

Requests for emergency assistance will be considered based on what is recognized as an emergency, using the following categories*:

  • Books:  Excessive book or supply charges that are higher than available aid.
  • Food: When the USF Feed-A-Bull Food pantry is not an option because of closure, or the student has expended their food allotment or is in greater need (i.e., supporting a family).
  • Shelter: this includes possible eviction from present housing; in extreme cases, rent assistance on housing when legitimately unable to make payment on own; aid for shelter and to replace basic needs in the case of a natural disaster, flood, or fire not covered by insurance.
  • Utilities: to prevent utilities from being disconnected during an emergency. Phone bills are not considered a utility.
  • Transportation: to aid in costly repairs only when car is necessary to continue employment; bus passes; aid not to include car payments, insurance premiums, taxes or normal maintenance and repair charges.
  • Deaths: to aid in travel expenses surrounding the death of an immediate family member (i.e., Spouse, mother, father, child, legal guardian, mother-in-law, father-in-law. brother, sister, etc.)
  • Medical: emergency or unexpected medical bills not covered by insurance.
  • Other: must provide explanation

* These are general guidelines, and each request will be reviewed by the Stay Afloat Review Committee.

Application Process

  • Application:  Please complete the following form: Stay AFLOAT Emergency Fund Application and submit all appropriate supporting documentation.
  • Review:  A member of the Stay Afloat Review Committee will contact you to set up a meeting to review your application and discuss any needed documentation.
  • Award Decision:  After the application is reviewed by the Committee, the student will receive a message via their USF e-mail account notifying them of the outcome within 3-5 business days. If approved, the message will also include how much funding will be awarded.
  • Payment:  The University works diligently to process funding as quickly as possible.  Awards will be applied directly to the student’s OASIS account.  If the student is not already signed up for e-deposit, please follow the eDeposit instructions.   
  • Financial Education Training:  To help prevent future financial emergencies, USF is committed to providing all students with the opportunity for free financial coaching from Bull-2-Bull Financial Education (B2B).  All recipients of emergency funding are encouraged to meet with a B2B coach after their immediate emergency is resolved.  


For more information, contact