Graduate Access Emergency Retention Grants: Policy & Guidelines

Overview

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 is not considered a special circumstance. Retention funds should not be perceived as an alternative "reward" system for students with high GPA's, 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 a student in good standing who is progressing successfully and appropriately in their program (up-to- date with all required forms, meeting degree milestones on scheduled, good GPA, etc.); and
  4. Has a strong likelihood of success completing her/his graduate program with the assistance of this one-time award.

The nomination form is available on the Graduate College website. The Graduate College Awards Committee will audit applications to ensure consistency with this policy and appropriate use of these funds. Awards 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 Dean of the Graduate College.

Limitations

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

Awardees 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 senior associate dean of the graduate college 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.

Criteria

By definition, retention funds originate from limited resources. A student must provide a clear and reasonable explanation why he or she desires 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. A domestic graduate student who does not have a valid FAFSA on file will not be considered for retention funds. International students may qualify for a graduate access retention award despite their inability to submit a FAFSA. Preference is provided to students with a FAFSA and financial need. A student with a FAFSA and no financial need may be provided 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 award.

Process

These awards are available year-round, though there are limited campus funds available for this type of award each year. Nominating faculty 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 awards should be a last choice, worst case scenario safety net and requests from academic colleges should be internally reviewed, regulated and limited.

Deadlines

Emergency retention funds must be tied to an academic term in which the awardee 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