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Opportunity Fund

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The Stanford FLI Office Opportunity Fund is designed to financially assist undergraduate students who are experiencing an unexpected financial challenge or seeking funds for an opportunity related to their academic and/or professional development. The FLI Office completes a thorough, holistic review of each application. The link to the application can be found at the bottom of this page.

Graduate and Co-Term Students should apply for support through Grant in Aid.

Emergency Grant-in-Aid Funds assist graduate students who experience a financial emergency or unanticipated expenses, causing financial hardship. This program is designed to assist in situations where the emergency may impede academic progress, and for those who cannot reasonably resolve their financial difficulty through fellowships, loans, or personal resources.

Emergency Grant-in-Aid awards are grants that reimburse actual expenses. These awards are not a loan and do not need to be repaid. Emergency Grant-in-Aid awards are taxable income.

Students are Opp Fund eligible when both the Family Contribution AND the Student Contribution on their financial aid notification are each individually $6,500 or less.


Check your most recent Financial Aid Notification to see if you are eligible. Students must be enrolled to receive funds through the Opportunity Fund. Students on Leave of Absence are able to apply for funding for expenses related to returning to being an enrolled student, which also includes citizenship/DACA/Visa fees. These will not be covered for students who have had 3 or more consecutive quarters of a Leave of Absence.

The Opportunity Fund is a limited resource and funding is not guaranteed. Before completing any purchases, please be sure to apply to the Opportunity Fund and wait for your approval email.

We are only able to reimburse up to the quarter prior to the current quarter (e.g.: Summer Quarter reimbursements processed in Autumn Quarter).

Incoming Students (Frosh and Transfers)

The only expense prior to your enrollment as a student that we can reimburse students for are laptops purchased on or after August 1. No other eligible expenses made prior to the first day of classes will be approved. No exceptions.

If you need assistance with a laptop, there are a few options:

(1) Students with outside awards can apply for support through the Financial Aid Office using their computer expense request form

(2) If you have a Welcome Grant, you will need to use that to help with your laptop purchase. Please contact your financial aid counselor for assistance.

(3) If you do not have the Welcome Grant, you may apply to the Opportunity Fund. Please note: laptop support is a one-time grant throughout your Stanford undergraduate career, regardless of the funding source.

Graduating Seniors

The last day to apply to the Opportunity Fund for funding is May 1, 2023. Please keep this date in mind and get any and all requests for eligible expenses in by that date. We are not accepting any applications, regardless of the request, after this date, unless there is an emergency.

What We Fund


 

Alt Text: Submit a complete estimate or receipts of flight expenses. This includes rideshare costs to/from the airport.

Family Emergency Travel

The Opportunity Fund can cover travel home during non-break times and non-University holidays when emergencies happen. We understand that this may occur more often than we may hope for, but we cannot guarantee that we can support back-to-back requests in this category.

Citizenship Fees (or other similar fees)

  • Work Authorization Fees, up to $410
  • Naturalization Fees, up to $725.

To process your request, we’ll need either a receipt of purchase or a screenshot of the application, both of which need to have your name on it. We unfortunately are unable to support any passport or student visa fees. However, if you need help with student visa fees, please get in touch with your financial aid counselor. If you are an undocumented student looking for support for the DACA application fee, the renewal fee, and the biometrics fee, please email fordreamers@stanford.edu.

Laptop Repair/Replacement

  • up to $1,000, once during your academic career, regardless of the funding source.

Note: If you have received funding for a laptop from financial aid or another office on campus, even if it is approved by the FLI Office, you will not be disbursed the funds. If this is your first year on campus and you have outside scholarships or a Welcome Grant, you should work with financial aid regarding laptop support first.

However, if your laptop is stolen, a copy of the police report will be required, and if your laptop is broken/damaged, a diagnostic/assessment report will be required. Students can receive a free assessment from LathropYou will need to upload a copy of your Service Now ticket to your application after the assessment is complete. However, if you are unable to get an assessment report from Lathrop for whatever reason and you receive a diagnostic report from an external entity, we can reimburse you for that cost, up to $100. In both cases, you will need to also submit the FLI Office computer expense form and a receipt or a screenshot of the estimate with the taxes and fees included.

If you need a new laptop and your request does not satisfy any of the previously mentioned criteria, then you need to set up a meeting with the Opportunity Fund Manager to discuss your needs prior to submitting a request.

 

Medical/Dental Expenses

When students are not enrolled, typically over the summer, we are able to cover medical/dental expenses that financial aid is unable to cover. This includes, but is not limited to: clinic/emergency room visits, labs and copays, dental surgery and routine exams/cleanings, eye exams and contacts/glasses up to $500, access to mental health services, and prescription medications. If you have other medical/dental expenses that weren’t listed here, please reach out to us to discuss whether your expense is eligible for support before you make any appointments.

During the academic year, financial aid is able to cover these expenses for the rest of the academic year after students pay the first $150.

Please complete their medical/dental expense form during the academic year. If a student reaches financial aid’s limit during the academic year, then they are eligible for support through the Opportunity Fund. Both the Opp Fund and Financial Aid are unable to cover cosmetic procedures such as laser eye surgery, braces, crowns, and plastic surgery unless there is a documented medical need and that documentation is provided. In order to process your request for medical/dental expenses, we will need copies of invoices, receipts, and or emails from the medical professional/office detailing the procedure and cost with the date of services.

Conferences/Workshops

  • up to $1,000, twice during your academic career.

Please note that while students can apply for conferences/workshops more than once, students cannot submit multiple requests for the same conference, and students need to complete a previously approved conference request before submitting a new one. We can cover expenses such as the conference/workshop registration, hotel and flight accommodations, transportation to/from campus and the airport, transportation to/from hotel and host city airport, and meals that are not already included in the conference registration.

In order to process your application, we will need a copy of your registration confirmation or a screenshot of the estimated cost of the conference/workshop and a link to the website for more information about the conference/workshop. If you are attending the conference/workshop in-person, then hotel registration/receipt, flight estimates/receipts with full itineraries and details, estimated costs for other transportation, and meal receipts. If receipts are not attached to the original request, then receipts will be required upon return from the event.

Family Travel

Do you have a special occasion coming up and would like family to travel to campus for that special occasion? Want to have your family come to campus for Family Weekend or Reunion Weekend? Do you have a game, recital, presentation, or other event on campus that you want your family to attend?

The Opportunity Fund can help your family get to campus to see you! We can cover this one time during your academic career up to $500 for domestic travel and up to $1,000 for international travel. This excludes move-in/new student orientation for incoming students. Family travel must be to Palo Alto. To process this request, we will need a receipt or screenshot of the estimate for flights with full details including number of guests, origin, and destination of travel, and total cost with taxes and fees, hotel details including receipts or screenshots of estimates with taxes and fees, and/or a map for mileage reimbursement. Currently, the federal mileage reimbursement rate is 62.5 cents per mile, but that is subject to change by federal guidelines.

Professional Clothing

  • up to $250, twice during your academic career - once during your frosh or sophomore year and once during your junior or senior year.

Professional clothing includes blazers, button-ups, blouses, dresses, dress pants, slacks, khakis, suits, dress shoes, heels, ties, etc. However, this support does not extend to formal events such as balls, class formals, or other events on campus that may require a student to dress up.

If your job necessitates that you need anything other than formal clothing, then you need to detail the job, and a meeting with the Opportunity Fund Manager may be required for approval. A detailed, itemized receipt or a screenshot of the items in a shopping cart with the date of purchase and total, including taxes and fees, is required. Thrift shopping can be a more affordable option. However, these places do not usually provide a detailed receipt, and in these cases, a photo of the receipt as well as the items with the tags attached will be required. 

 

Summer Storage

  • up to $200 every summer between your academic years on campus. You’re welcome to apply for support every summer in your academic career.

Storage must be through a storage company or facility. No exceptions! We can assist with costs associated with the rental of the unit, insurance for your items, the lock, and transportation to/from the facility and campus (if necessary). We strongly encourage sharing the storage unit with your friends and other Stanford students to reduce your cost. If sharing, you will need to complete the summer storage agreement and everyone sharing the unit with you will need to sign the document, regardless of whether they are also apply for support or not.

Only a hand signature, Adobe signature, or official digital signature (DocuSign, etc.) will be accepted. Students entering into a co-term program the following academic year are eligible to apply for support, but they must do so prior to the Opportunity Fund deadline for seniors and will need to include documentation of program enrollment in their application.

Graduate/Professional School Expenses

Whether it’s for preparing to apply to a graduate school program, attending the admitted student event for that program after being accepted, or flying out to a job interview, we’ve got you covered.

  • There’s a $1,000 limit for this category throughout your Stanford career, but you can apply as many times as you need to up to that limit. Requests must be submitted for expenses in the academic year within which they occur. We cannot reimburse for expenses from a previous academic year, nor can we provide funding for an expense two or three academic years out.

For graduate admission application fees, we need a screenshot of the estimate of the fee or a receipt of purchase along with official documentation that the program does that offer a fee waiver (screenshots or documentation of conversations and/or website language confirming). For job interviews, we’ll need to see documentation from your potential employer that travel to the interview is not covered as well as the date(s) of the interview with a receipt or screenshots of the travel estimates (flights, hotels, and rideshares). For graduate admission programs, the similar proof that travel expenses are not covered, program registration, and dates of program are required in addition to the flight/travel details and receipts. Lastly, for graduate admission tests and preparation, we need proof of the registration for the exam and dates and/or receipts or invoices of the cost of registering for the exam or the test prep materials.

 

Graduation Support

The Opportunity Fund is proud to be able support seniors as they prepare for graduation. This is a milestone occasion for you and the support system that got you here, and we want to be able to support as much as we can.

Graduation Regalia

We will support up to $75 for grad basics which includes a cap, gown, tassels, and a stole of gratitude. We will need a receipt or a screenshot of cart with your name in it. The Opp Fund does not support class rings, grad announcements, diploma cases, etc.

Family Travel for Graduation

We want your support system to join you on campus for this celebration! We will support travel for family to campus for graduation up to $1,000 for domestic travel and up to $1,500 for international travel.

To process this request, we will need a receipt or screenshot of the estimate for flights with full details including number of guests, origin and destination of travel, and total cost with taxes and fees, hotel details including receipts or screenshots of estimates with taxes and fees, and/or a map for mileage reimbursement. Currently, the federal mileage reimbursement rate is 62.5 cents per mile, but that is subject to change by federal guidelines.

Cultural Celebrations

Stanford hosts a number of cultural celebrations through some of the community centers which have a cost associated with attending. Cultural Celebrations include graduations associated with these community centers: The Asian American Activities Center (A3C), the Black Community Services Center (BCSC), El Centro Chicano y Latino (El Centro), and The Native American Cultural Center (NACC). We need a confirmation of registration and/or a flyer for the celebration if you are requesting the funds prior.

What We Don't Fund

Things the Opp Fund cannot fund - Tuition and fees, books and supplies, housing, school supplies, course fees, health service fee, bikes/scooters, health insurance, study abroad, iPads/tablets, club sports, passport fees, student visa fees, cell phones, lost keys fees, rekeying fees, lost ID fees, family emergency travel during university holidays or breaks, and cosmetic surgery including Lasik eye surgery, braces/invisalign, crowns, or plastic surgery

*It should be noted that on a case by case basis, we can provide support with resources that a student requires as a part of their accommodations with sufficient documentation


Students applying for support with Fraternity or Sorority Life dues need to complete the FSL Opportunity Fund Application by Monday, October 3, 2022 for Autumn Quarter dues. Dues are not covered through the traditional Opportunity Fund application process. You can learn more about their process here. Please reach out to Christopher Carter with any questions.


[Alt text: 1.) Submit your application to the Opp Fund. 2.) A member of the FLI Office team reviews your application (usually within one week). 3.)If there is missing documentation or more information is needed, a FLI Office staff member will contact you. You will have two weeks from the day you receive that email to provide the additional information or documentation to us before your application is withdrawn. 4.) Once your application is approved by the FLI Office, it will be sent to the Financial Aid Office for review and processing. 5.) The Financial Aid Office will approve your application and submit it to Student Financial Services for disbursement. There are reasons the Financial Aid Office might not approve a request - a student being on a leave of absence, already having received funding for the request previously(usually in the case of a laptop), not having room in your budget, or similar reasons. 6.) Student Financial Services disburses your award. You will receive your award in the same form as any other disbursement you receive (direct deposit or a paper check if you do not have direct deposit) 7.) If you requested the funds prior, you submit your receipt to the Opportunity Fund via our Receipt Tracker]


2022-2023 Opportunity Fund Application

*To receive the fund disbursement if approved for an Opportunity Fund grant, students will need to complete a Canvas course about the Opportunity Fund, which will take about 30-45 minutes to complete. You only need to complete this once during your Stanford career. The link to the course is available in the Opportunity Fund Application.

*Due to the high volume of requests that we receive through the Opportunity Fund, it can take up to two weeks to receive a response. Please be sure to include all supporting materials with your application to prevent a delay in processing.


Additional Forms