Student Emergency Relief Fund

Help for students with financial needs outside of the expected costs of education.

The Student Emergency Relief Fund was created, as part of Essential Needs, to assist WMU students who have urgent financial emergencies that would interfere with their path to graduation from Western Michigan University.  This fund is made possible through donor generosity, including an endowment and previous sales of the official WMU Game Day t-shirt.

The SERF is not intended to support expected costs of attendance (tuition, textbooks, past due balances of outstanding charges, etc.) or be used on an ongoing basis for routine expenses.  Students who need assistance in meeting their expected costs of attendance should contact Bronco Express (domestic students), or International Admissions and Services (international students) to schedule an appointment with a representative to discuss their situation.


For the year and/or term in which assistance is sought, students must:

  • Be currently enrolled at WMU at least half-time. 
    For undergraduate students, half-time enrollment is 6 hours during Fall or Spring, and 3 hours during Summer I or II. 
    For graduate students, half-time enrollment is 3 hours during Fall or Spring and 2 hours during Summer I or II.
  • Have a current FAFSA on file (domestic students only).
  • Have remaining financial need as calculated by Student Financial Aid.
  • Be experiencing an urgent, unexpected financial emergency that is impacting their success as a WMU student and/or path to graduation.

Submitting an application is the first step in the SERF process and does not guarantee funding. All applications will be reviewed by a committee to ensure they meet the SERF criteria and eligibility requirements. Your financial aid budget is also used to determine your eligibility. If further information is needed to determine eligibility, students will be required to meet with a staff member to discuss their application and financial need. Funding approval is based on available funds, student's needs and available options.   

Eligible Expense ExamplesIneligible Expense Examples
Items lost in natural disaster (i.e. fire/flood damage)Monthly Bills (i.e. auto loans, utilities)
Repair/Replace EyeglassesTuition/Textbooks
Qualified Medical (i.e. dental)Rent/Security Deposits
Laptop RepairTickets/Towing

Car Repair/Maintenance - $300 maximum funding award

Students can apply for up to $300 for this expense.
Students can only receive SERF funding for this expense once.

Food/Toiletries/Household Items/Gas

SERF application


PLEASE NOTE: Once you have submitted an application, staff will communicate with you through the application portal. You will also receive email notifications informing you of a response. You are strongly encouraged to closely monitor your email - including the spam folder - during this time to ensure you receive all messages.


This is not a scholarship.  Applications are reviewed on an individual basis, as quickly as possible, in the order received.  Applications are reviewed by Student Financial Aid to determine if alternative sources of financial assistance are available to you and you will be notified accordingly.  Please note that if your application is approved, SERF aid may be counted toward your total financial aid package and may affect your eligibility for other forms of financial assistance.  Students may receive a maximum total SERF award of $1,000 per academic year.



Questions regarding the Student Emergency Relief Fund?

Please email or contact Donielle Easlick, Program Manager, at (269) 387-2021.


Show Support

Select this image to read more about the SERF Endowment.

The Student Emergency Relief Fund is made possible largely through the generosity of individual donors, as well as the Student Emergency Relief Fund Endowment started by an incredible donation from former Western Michigan University President, Dr. John M. Dunn, and his wife, Linda.

Make a gift now