Medical Student Emergency Aid Fund

The Medical Student Emergency Aid Fund is designed to provide temporary, short-term financial assistance to students enrolled in the MD program who are struggling with unanticipated or emergency financial situations.
Unlike a loan, students are not expected to repay awards from the Medical Student Emergency Aid Fund. Please be aware that this fund is limited and not all requests will be met with financial assistance.
Harvard Medical School works to maintain privacy; however, information may be shared internally on a need-to-know basis.

Possible reasons to apply for the Medical Student Emergency Aid Fund:

  • Support for temporary housing, and/or other essential needs such as food, due to displacement by fire, safety concerns, or other unforeseen event
  • Travel costs associated with a personal or family emergency, crisis, or death
  • Unforeseen or unusually high medical expenses
  • The repair of a damaged laptop up to $500
The list above is not exhaustive for all situations for which a student may seek financial assistance. However, the following situations are not eligible:
• Tuition, fees and living expenses as outlined in the HMS MD program Cost of Attendance 
• Expenses related to conferences/professional development
• The purchase of a laptop
• Non-essential expenses (e.g. library fines, gym membership)


Food and/or Housing Insecurity

Students who feel they may be experiencing food and/or housing insecurity are encouraged to apply to this fund. Please be aware that funds are limited, but every effort will be made to work with students on identifying resources to support their needs.
For more information on how food insecurity is defined, visit the USDA website.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must:
  • be currently enrolled in the HMS MD program
  • have demonstrated financial need
  • show financial hardship due to emergency, illness, or other unforeseen event
  • complete the application and provide supporting documentation
  • meet with the Financial Aid Office/financial aid counselor to discuss the situation


To apply for emergency funding, please send an email to with the subject line “HMS Medical Student Emergency Fund Request." You will be provided a link to HMS’s secure file transfer to upload supporting documentation for each additional cost you would like us to consider. Use the subject “Medical Student Emergency Aid Fund Request” and detail your request in the text section.
All efforts will be made to review requests in a timely fashion. Applicants will be contacted by the Financial Aid Office to set up an appointment. Please note that at this time, requests over $250 will require additional review. You will be contacted via email with a final decision on funding.

Approval Process

Each request is reviewed individually. A rubric will be utilized in the review process and the following factors will be considered:
  • The specific and immediate impacts the emergency may be having on the student’s well-being and academic progress
  • The nature and urgency of the emergency and the totality of the student’s hardships
  • Other resources or support that the student may have available to them
  • Other information provided by third parties at the student’s request, such as advocates or advisors, that may help to illuminate and clarify the student’s situation
Approval will be based on financial need. Every effort will be made to process these requests in a timely manner. Not every request will be met with financial support. Applicants may be asked to provide feedback on the impact of the fund. Please note that awards through this fund may be considered income and subject to federal tax regulations.