Retention funds for graduate students should be perceived as funds of last resort when all other 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 does not want to work or borrow a federal student loan will not receive an Emergency Retention Grant. Retention funds should not be perceived as an alternative "reward" system for students with high GPAs, graduate assistants, or students who did not receive another scholarship/grant.

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 exhausted other avenues for financial support
  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 schedule, good GPA, etc.)
  4. Has a strong likelihood of successfully completing their graduate program with the assistance of this one-time grant

The application is available in the Forms tab in Grad Rebel Gateway. The Graduate College will audit applications to ensure consistency with this policy and appropriate use of these funds. Grants 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 Graduate College dean.


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

To be eligible for funding, students must be enrolled in graduate-level coursework during the term they are requesting funding. Retention funds cannot be disbursed to students without enrollment.

Employees (and past employees) of UNLV are eligible as long as all guidelines and policy criteria are met. The Graduate College dean 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, retention funds originate from limited resources. A student must provide a clear and reasonable explanation of their desire for  additional funds. The student needs to describe how much additional support is needed and for what reason. A request for funds without a purposeful description will be denied.

All domestic student nominees must have a current FAFSA on record and will not be considered for retention funds without one.  FAFSA-ineligible students must have a current Alternate Need Determination Form on record with Financial Aid & Scholarships. Preference is provided to students with financial need determined by the FAFSA or Alternate Need Determination Form. A student with a FAFSA or Alternate Need Determination Form and no financial need may receive assistance. Retention funds are derived from sources which require 50% need and 50% non-need reconciliation requirements.

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 grant.


These grants are available year-round, though there are limited campus funds available for this type of funding each year. The nominating faculty advisor/faculty mentor 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 grants should be a last choice, worst-case scenario safety net, and requests from academic colleges should be internally reviewed, regulated, and limited. Please note that funds for this program are limited. Approving an Emergency Retention Grant application does not guarantee funding or funding amounts. Final decisions regarding funding approval and funding amounts are determined by the Graduate College.


Emergency retention funds must be tied to an academic term in which the student is enrolled in graduate-level credits. Nomination forms must be received within the following dates to be processed for a specific academic term:

Fall: August 1st – December 31st
Spring: January 1st – May 31st
Summer: June 1st - July 31st