About Student Emergency Relief Aid

A history of supporting students in need

In 2011, We Are Aggie Pride (now called Student Emergency Relief Aid) was founded by a group of students who were inspired to help fellow students struggling financially to stay in school. As students themselves, they understood well the need for a program that could keep students in crisis from falling through the cracks. That is why today Student Emergency Relief Aid provides financial awards to students, rather than asks them to pay back loans.

Over the years, the program has helped students who were displaced by California wildfires, who have been turned away by family due to their sexuality, and who have been fighting long term illnesses. It has also supported students who exhausted their funding in their last quarter before graduation, or just couldn’t work multiple jobs and stay in school. The program supports students through many kinds of difficulties.

Because we at the Student Foundation firmly believe that a temporary financial setback should not force any student to discontinue their education, we were thrilled when in 2016 the UC Davis Foundation Board agreed with us! They challenged the student board members to raise $10,000 in gifts from our fellow students. When they met their goal, they the UC Davis Foundation Board multiplied that amount by 10 and contributed $100,000 to support the Student Emergency Relief Aid program into the future!

It was an unbelievably generous offer from some amazing, dedicated Aggie alumni. We are very grateful for their belief in our program and in the students we serve.

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Frequently Asked Questions


  1. What is Student Emergency Relief Aid?

    The Student Emergency Relief Aid (SERA) program, formerly known as We Are Aggie Pride, awards short-term funds to students facing financial emergencies. These funds help offset setbacks that would interfere with a student’s ability to stay in school.

    Since 2011 the program has helped over 100 students stay in school through emergency situations, helped hundreds of students pay for their books at the UC Davis Bookstore, and helped several students afford their cap and gown for graduation.


  1. Who manages SERA?

    SERA is managed by the finance and allocation committee for Aggies Helping Aggies, the UC Davis Student Foundation. The Foundation is made up of a student board and staff advisors who are experienced with financial aid and philanthropic management. Students who participate in the Student Foundation Board raise money for SERA all year to make sure funds are available to students in need.


  1. How is SERA funded?

    SERA is generously funded by donations from students, alumni, and friends and supporters of the UC Davis community who believe that emergency situations should not impact a student’s ability to earn a bachelor’s degree.

    In 2016 the UC Davis Foundation Board also created an endowment for this program to ensure that regular funds are available each year to students in need.


  1. Is the SERA award a loan?

    No, these awards are not loans and do not need to paid back.


  1. What are the requirements to apply?

Must be facing a financial emergency (see below for examples)

Must be a registered undergraduate student currently attending UC Davis

Must have a FAFSA or DREAM Act application on file

Must not have already received an award from this program


  1. What is considered a financial emergency?

    Examples of financial emergencies that SERA could assist with may include, but are not limited to, being diagnosed with a major illness, losing a job, risk of immediate eviction, danger of being dropped from classes, short-term childcare assistance, and being unable to pay a non-recurring expense that affects your ability to stay in school. Transportation assistance is often considered a recurring expense, so we may not be able to provide support for requests in that category. After you apply, we may request additional documentation to determine your eligibility to receive support.


  1. Where do I apply?

    You can receive more information on SERA at Aggie Compass in the Memorial Union. You can also apply for assistance here.

    You may apply for the SERA award any time throughout the school year, except summer. The Student Foundation does not award money during the summer.


  1. How long does the application process take?

    Applications are reviewed in the context of the immediate need stated by the applicant in relation to his or her records of financial need (i.e., documented monthly expenses) and other financial aid awards held by the financial aid office.  

    We will send you an acknowledgement e-mail that we received your application within 1-2 business days of your application submission.

    If we don’t have the documentation we need to evaluate your application we will contact you for additional information as needed.


  1. How can I support my fellow Aggies by giving to SERA?

    A monthly or one-time credit card gift can be given by going to give.ucdavis.edu/go/GiveToSERA.

    A gift of any size can make an important difference.