Student Support

At Brown, we care about the whole you and work with you to support your success. Begin with some of the resources listed below.

Resources for you

Strong advisor-advisee relationships are cornerstones of successful graduate education. They are vital to students’ and faculty members’ scholarly and professional development and to the intellectual excellence and vitality of any program. Learn more about academic support here.

Friends are often the first to notice that a student might be experiencing significant distress. You may be concerned that a friend or acquaintance is acting strangely or seems depressed, but it may not be clear how you might be helpful. Another student may have also brought a concern to you about someone he or she knows. This page summarizes resources available to you and all students in the Brown community.

The Brown University Short-Term Loan Program is a zero interest loan made available to students to assist in emergencies. This fund has historically supported students experiencing cash-flow related situations where a buffer is needed immediately. After a request is approved, students must sign a Promissory Note/Acknowledgement and funds must be repaid according to those terms.

The School of Professional Studies  has established emergency funding for master’s students who find themselves with an urgent, unexpected financial need. The application can be found in UFunds, under “SPS E-Gap Fund for Master's and Professional Student”

Emergency support may come in the form of a cash payment (typically capped at $500), meal credits, or other support as available and appropriate. We give emergency funding requests the fullest consideration that our available resources will permit. Students can expect to receive a response to their application within 2-3 business days. Questions may be directed to

Students can learn about payment options and Installment Payment Plans on the website of the Bursar’s Office.

During your time at Brown, you may need to request a leave of absence. There are many reasons a student may consider taking a leave of absence. To discuss options, master’s students are encouraged to make an appointment with the Associate Dean of Student Affairs. Students should also connect with their academic departments, the Office of Financial Aid, and the Office of International Students and Scholars as needed.

Leaves of absence are generally granted for up to one year (one or two semesters and a summer term). Students on a medical leave may request to return from leave after one full semester. 

Students on a leave of absence are not considered active students so this may have significant implications for student loans as well as visas for international students. Students on a leave are not permitted to utilize campus resources or hold student employment positions. 

Additional details on Leaves of Absence can be found in the Graduate School Handbook

Non-Medical Leaves of Absence (Personal, Professional Development, Family Leave)

Applications for leaves of absence should be submitted at least four weeks before the start of the semester in which the leave is to be taken. Students experiencing an urgent matter may request a medical or personal leave at any time. Students without an approved leave of absence will still be considered active and will be billed for tuition. 

To initiate a non-medical leave of absence, students should:

  1.  Meet with their Director of Graduate Study (DGS) to discuss the possibility of a leave.
  2. Complete the appropriate Leave of Absence request form in UFunds. The department chair and program DGS will be asked to approve the request.
  3. If students receive financial aid, they should discuss the impact of a leave with the Office of Financial Aid. Students receiving aid or loans will need to add a representative from the Office of Financial Aid as a recommender on the UFunds form.
  4. International students are encouraged to connect with the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (OISSS). A representative from OISSS will need to review and approve all UFunds forms for international students. 
  5. The completed form will be reviewed and approved by the School of Professional Studies. Students will receive a confirmation letter.

Students wishing to return from a non-medical leave of absence should reach out to their Director of Graduate Study. 

Medical Leaves of Absence

Students who must interrupt their study due to an illness or injury may consider a medical leave of absence. A medical leave of absence is intended to provide students with time to focus on their health and recover. Students considering a medical leave should consult with the Associate Dean of Student Affairs to discuss their options. 

Medical Leave Process:

  1. Students should make an appointment with the Associate Dean of Student Affairs
  2. In this meeting, students will be asked to consider how a leave may impact their course of study, any financial aid or loans, and student visa (international students).
  3. Students complete a medical leave of absence form on UFunds
  4. Associate Dean of Student Affairs consults with Director of Graduate Study to determine whether the student’s department is supportive of a leave
  5. If a student receives federal financial aid or loans, they will be asked to list a representative from the Office of Financial Aid as a recommender on the form.
  6. International students will be asked to list a representative from OISSS as a recommender on the form.
  7. Once approved by the Associate Dean of Student Affairs, students will receive a confirmation letter. 
  8. In the semester prior to a student’s scheduled return, the student will be contacted to determine whether they intend to return.
  9. If the student intends to return, they will be asked to submit documentation from a health care provider. This documentation is reviewed by Health Services or Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), depending on the nature of the illness. 
  10. Once reviewed and approved, the student is cleared to return to study.

Food Support & Resources

What is food insecurity? Food insecurity is defined as a lack of consistent access to enough food for every person in a household to live an active, healthy life. This can be a temporary situation  or can last a long time 

How does Brown support master’s students experiencing food insecurity?

  • Meal Swipes: Meal credits for on-campus meals may be provided to students experiencing acute food need. This form of support, the number of meals, and the period of time over which they will be provided will be determined on an individual basis after applying for Meal Swipes in UFunds. Students are typically awarded 20 meal swipes at a time and may reapply as needed. Complete the application and learn about eligibility requirements here.
  • Emergency Hardship Funding: Students may apply for up to $250 in funds to cover the costs of groceries for themselves and/or dependents 
  • Bear Market Food Exchange:  Located outside of our offices on the 4th Floor of Page-Robinson building (across from Room 411), this pantry shelf is stocked by donations from students, faculty & staff, and supplemented monthly by the Office of the Chaplains and Religious Life. 
  • Graduate Student Council Lounge Pantry: The pantry is located in the Graduate Student Lounge (92 Thayer St.), in cabinets three and four which are to the right of the GSL entrance, and directly across from the sink. A list of items that might be found in the pantry and where are shown here

Emergency Hardship Funding

The School of Professional Studies understands that an unexpected emergency can cause significant stress and uncertainty, impacting your academic success and personal well-being. Master's students who experience financial hardship as a result of an unanticipated event are encouraged to connect with Student Affairs staff in the School of Professional Studies to determine their eligibility for the Emergency Hardship Fund. Student Affairs Staff can also provide guidance and advice in navigating available resources and making referrals to appropriate offices.

The Emergency Hardship Fund may cover the following: 

  • Winter Gear: Items such as a winter coat, boots, hat, scarf, and gloves. 
  • Medical Costs: Sudden medical, vision, or dental costs not covered by health insurance.
  • Travel:  Unexpected travel costs, such as travel to or from Providence during extended breaks or to care for a family member. 
  • Car Repair: Non-routine expenses related to car repair. This does not cover regular car maintenance costs.  
  • Technology Repair: Funds to cover repair or diagnostic and maintenance services at the Brown Bookstore. Awards are based on a fee schedule, posted at the Bookstore at the time of service. 
  • Textbooks & course materials: Required texts or course materials required for a student to successfully participate in their academic programs. 
  • Personal/Other: Funds to cover personal items, such as DACA fees or F1 visa fees, or other costs.  

Please be aware that Emergency Hardship Funding is limited and is based on financial need; some requests may be granted through this resource.  Emergency Hardship Funding grant amounts vary, and funding priority is based on the urgency of the situation, level of hardship, and the student's overall financial situation.   Emergency Hardship Funding typically provides awards up to a maximum of $500 per academic year.Students can review eligibility requirements and the award process in UFunds, in the  SPS E-Gap Fund for Master's and Professional Students. 

Apply Here

Staff Support