Close this search box.

Graduate Student Financial Aid (GSFA)

The Graduate Student Financial Aid (GSFA), a fund awarded by GSS, aims to support graduate students at Vancouver Campus, experiencing unforeseen financial hardship.

The fund can cover a wide range of expenses directly arising from unforeseen circumstances, which may include but not be limited to:

  • Rent and living expenses
  • Prescription medication not covered by MSP, Pharmacare, and the AMS / GSS Health and Dental Plan
  • Moving and related expenses
  • The UBC Leave of Absence fee

The GSFA does not cover tuition and other school fees.

Note: Funds are subject to availability; not all eligible applications will be approved. The maximum amount that can be approved for individual applications varies along with the financial capacity of the fund. For reference, past values are: In 2019: $1000

Eligibility Criteria

  • Be a currently enrolled as graduate student in a program of the UBC Vancouver Campus
  • Reside in Canada
  • Be in a recent unforeseen financial hardship and be able to provide documentations. Note that the financial difficulty needs to be unexpected and recent

Documents Required

  1. Proof of Enrolment: Downloaded from SSC account
  2. Cover Letter, delineating a recent unforeseen financial hardship: The cover letter needs to elaborate on the unexpected nature of the recent financial difficulty, and contain the total amount of household income, the spending or expense, and the amount of funding that the situation requires. Please note that declaring the required amount will merely provide a general overview of the unexpected situation to the panel and hence is not guaranteed. The cover letter needs to answer the question if the unexpected situation is ongoing, in what way or how this one-time funding will assist the applicant with the situation. If Emergency Fund has been awarded, the applicants need to note the amount of this fund and express how this fund alleviated the financial hardship
  3. Support Letter: Support Letter can be provided by any academic or non-academic office. This letter aims to back up and provide details on student’s financial hardship. The supporter needs to have sufficient knowledge of the applicant’s financial hardship. The offices includes but not limited to departments, enrolment centre, Ombudspersons, Equity and Inclusion, The Accessibility centre, etc. The letter can similarly be provided by supervisor or advisor
  4. Letter from Enrolment Centre: This letter needs to embrace whether the applicant has received emergency fund, stating the amount, and the date. The approval letter of award provided by enrolment centre would suffice for this purpose as well. If not eligible for this fund, a letter indicating the ineligibility is needed.
  5. Proof of expenses
  6. Additional Documentation (if applicable): Applicant are welcomed to provide additional documentations to support their claim.
Please note that the required documentations are obligatory to process the application. Any inadvertence in submitting the complete package of required documentations would prolong the process.

If enrolment services has awarded aid, the applicant will need to show how fund has been spent; and clarify in the cover letter if the application to the GSFA is for the same issue.

The panel invites the applicant to provide any additional supporting documentations that may provide clarity and insight into the situation.

How to Apply

Please compile the required documents in one PDF file. All this documentation should be scanned and sent by email to

Hard copies may also be requested during the application review process.

Application Checklist

  • Cover letter, detailing:
    • Unexpected nature of “recent” financial hardship,
    • Household income and ordinary expenses,
    • Details of the amount claimed in financial hardship, and
    • How the funds will be spent if awarded
  • Support letter, from any academic or non-academic UBC office
    • Note: the supporter needs to have a sufficient knowledge of the unexpected financial hardship of applicant
  • Letter of Enrolment, showing registration for current semester (downloaded from Student Services Centre)
  • Letter from UBC Enrolment Office, signifying emergency fund status and amount received, if any
  • Proof of expenses
  • Additional documentation if desired


Please see “Eligibility Criteria” in the section above for full details.

Please see “Documents Required” and “How to Apply” in the section above for complete details.

A panel made up of the GSS Peer Support Specialists, the GSS General Manager, and two GSS Academic and External Committee representatives will review all applications to determine whether applicants meet the criteria and to decide the value of any award.

Funds are subject to availability, so not every application meeting the requirements shall be approved or shall receive the full amount they requested.

The GSFA Peer Support Specialists will let every applicant know the outcome of their decision within four weeks of receiving a completed application.

The decision of the GSFA Adjudication Panel shall be final and there shall be no appeal to any other body of the Society.

Health Plan Premium Assistance Fund

The AMS/GSS Health Plan Premium Assistance Fund provides a partial or up to a full reimbursement of the fee for the AMS/GSS Health & Dental Plan based on financial need.

Eligibility Criteria

This fund is available to students at UBC Vancouver who:

  • Are current or new students at UBC Vancouver
  • Have not opted out of the AMS/GSS Health & Dental Plan

How to Apply

Students can apply for this fund online – there are two application periods each year, in September and January.

  • Current & new students: Applications are accepted and due in September each year.
  • New students starting in January: Applications are accepted and due in January.


If your spouse or dependent(s) are also enrolled in the Plan, their premiums are not eligible for reimbursement. If they attend UBC, VST, St. Mark’s, or Regent College, they should apply for the fund separately.