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Office of Graduate Education Stanford Biosciences Office of Graduate Education

Biosciences Hardship Program

About the Program

Affordability is a significant challenge across the entire Stanford community of students, postdocs, faculty and staff. In an effort to help address this challenge for Biosciences PhD students, we have launched the Biosciences Hardship Program.  Funds from this program are intended to assist with addressing the needs of students who are experiencing a financial hardship related to the cost of living in the San Francisco Bay Area or other factors. 

The fund offers a one-time grant of up to $5,000 (subject to fund availability) per academic year/per household to doctoral scholars who meet the eligibility criteria.  To maximize the impact of our limited funds, we anticipate making grants on the order of $500 – $5000 each.  Students who apply to the Biosciences Hardship Program are also expected to also take advantage of other University resources. Biosciences hardship funds are grants and do not need to be repaid.  They are, however, considered taxable income and recipients will need to comply with IRS guidelines.  Please be aware that funds disbursed will automatically be applied to any outstanding university bill.

Each case is considered on its own merit, and the awarded grant amount may vary from the amount requested. Examples of potential hardship themes may include (but are not limited to) unexpected transportation or technology difficulties, child/dependent caregiving, medical emergencies, ongoing healthcare and housing concerns not supported by other Stanford University support programs listed here.

If you are looking for financial support surrounding your Mental Health copays, please visit our pilot Biosciences Mental Health Support Program.


To be eligible for the Biosciences Hardship Fund, the applicant must be actively pursuing a PhD degree in the following programs: Biochemistry, Bioengineering, Biology, Biomedical Data Science, Biomedical Physics, Biophysics, Cancer Biology, Chemical and Systems Biology, Developmental Biology, Epidemiology and Clinical Research, Genetics, Health and Research Policy, Immunology, Microbiology and Immunology, Molecular and Cellular Physiology, Neurosciences, Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, or Structural Biology.

Applicants must be in their first six years of PhD study.  MSTP students who are in their PhD years may also apply. For applicable requests, applicants must have previously submitted an Emergency Grant In Aid application.

How to Apply

This fund will be administered by the Office of Graduate Education and is subject to fund availability. We hope to review submissions and respond within 4-6 weeks of the application deadline.

Application Dates

The Hardship Program will accept applications twice this year, in Autumn and Spring quarters.

Application cycle Application Opens Application Closes
Autumn September 25, 2023 October 23, 2023
Spring March 11, 2024 April 8, 2024

Biosciences Hardship Application

The Spring 2023-24 application is now CLOSED, application dates for 2024-25 will be announced by early September, 2024. 

If you have questions after reviewing the program details and eligibility requirements, contact the Office of Graduate Education at

Biosciences Hardship Program FAQ

  • I am experiencing financial hardship, but I am not sure where to apply for support – where do I start?
    • Great question! First, please check out the Emergency Grant in Aid (EGIA) website to determine if your hardship is eligible to be covered via that program. If so, submit your EGIA application. If the EGIA program will not support your request – then please submit a hardship application. If you need assistance with copays associated with your mental health, please submit an application via the Biosciences Mental Health Support Program. There are other financial support programs on campus you may be eligible for – please review those programs on the Financial Aid Office website. If you’re still unsure, please email
  • Can I apply for the Biosciences Hardship Program and the EGIA at the same time, for the same expense?
    • Yes! In fact, it is highly encouraged! If your expense is eligible via the EGIA, please apply for that support first. In your Hardship application, you may note that you have applied, and that an EGIA decision is pending review. Once you have received word on your application please let us know, and the Hardship Review Committee will adjust your Hardship application accordingly. The Hardship review committee will connect with the Financial Aid Office to receive reimbursement information regarding your EGIA application. We encourage you to apply for both programs in case your EGIA is not completely funded, the Hardship program can supplement that award to assist with costs. Please note, you won’t be awarded twice for the same expense. If your EGIA application is completely funded, your Hardship application will be retracted. Students with retracted Autumn applications, may apply again in Spring for Hardship support.
  • Will I receive the help I need?
    • Due to limited funding, we cannot guarantee every student will receive their requested amount of support. However, the Hardship Review Committee diligently reviews each application on its own merit in an effort to allocate funds equitably towards eligible requests with the goal of providing financial assistance for students in need.
  • What do I need to provide in my application?
    • The Biosciences Hardship Program is reimbursement based, please provide documents supporting your request – like receipts, invoices, or bills. The Hardship Program rarely awards support for future-expenses that have not yet occurred.
  • What should I do if I am struggling financially, but my peers are having bigger issues and I don’t want to take funding away from them?
    • You should apply for any/all support programs where you are eligible and encourage your friend to do the same.
  • I received support last year; can I apply again?
    • Yes! Every eligible student can receive up to $5,000 each academic year. On September 1st, when the new academic year begins – you are eligible to apply for the hardship program until you have reached the maximum amount of financial support. For example, if you received $2,000 in Autumn, you may apply again in Spring – but the maximum amount of support you are eligible to receive in Spring is $3,000.