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Equity Grant

The purpose of the USS Equity Grant is to remove financial barriers that keep undocumented students from participating in opportunities that support their professional development, preparation for graduate school, and leadership development.  

Eligibility. No exceptions.

  • Enrolled at UCSD for the current academic school year
  • Identify as an undocumented student (recipient of AB 540, CA Dream Act, or AB 132) 
  • Not be a visiting student or only enrolled in UC San Diego Extention programs
  • Open to undergraduate and graduate students

When the Equity Grant is available:

  • Application should be completed to cover expenses taking place within the current academic year. The 2023-24 academic year ends June 7, 2024. Keep in mind the application for the 23-24 Equity Grant closes on May 24, 2024, so the application must be submitted at least 2 weeks before the end of the academic year. 
  • All professional development activities need to take place and be purchased while the student maintains active status (evidenced by enrollment) with the university. Graduating students must use funding by graduation date. 
  • Activity(s) to be covered must take place within the academic term when the application is submitted. For example, an application submitted in the Winter quarter must be for an expense taking place in the Winter quarter. Exception: Students enrolled in the Spring quarter can participate in Professional Development activities in the Summer so long as they are still a student for the following academic year and submit their application before the deadline. 

Professional Development Activities: 

Conference Registration Fees: 

  • These expense(s) are covered on behalf of the student.
  • Students do not receive the money, instead, one of our team members schedules a meeting with the student to pay for the expenses on their behalf.
  • You will receive a decision email from our team stating if you were approved or denied for the Equity Grant.
  • If approved, a meeting to pay for the activity is required, so students should consider activities that do not have short deadlines since staff may not be able to meet right away.
  • We recommend scheduling the meeting at least 2 weeks before the deadline - we will not rush applications/meetings to meet deadlines.

Lodging and Travel for Conference: 

According to university policy, students will need to pay for lodging and travel for the professional and leadership development activity and proceed with a reimbursement process:

  1. Students first complete this application and get approval for the reimbursement process.
  2. You will receive a decision email from our team stating if you were approved or denied for the Equity Grant. If approved, you will be asked to set up an appointment with a USS staff member to discuss details. 
  3. After receiving approval and meeting with USS staff, the student may then purchase their travel and lodging for their professional development activity. 
  4. Student completes professional development activities.
  5. Students provide USS with receipts that have the student's name, credit card used, and dates. No guarantee USS will reimburse if required information is missing from receipts.

Important things to know:

  • The reimbursement process takes, on average, 2-3 months.
  • Students should not split expenses with others if they want to be considered for reimbursement.
  • Meals are not covered.
  • No reimbursement will happen for purchases made without approval by USS staff first.      

Graduate School Preparation/Exams:

  • These expense(s) are covered on behalf of the student.
  • Students do not receive the money, instead, one of our team members schedules a meeting with the student to pay for the expenses on their behalf.
  • You will receive a decision email from our team stating if you were approved or denied for the Equity Grant.
  • If approved, a meeting to pay for the activity is required, so students should consider activities that do not have short deadlines since staff may not be able to meet right away.
  • We recommend scheduling the meeting at least 2 weeks before the deadline - we will not rush applications/meetings to meet deadlines

Equity Grant Application

Students are you ready to apply for the Equity Grant? Apply here! Application for the 23-24 Equity Grant closes on May 24, 2024, so the application must be submitted at least 2 weeks before the end of the academic year.  Contact Program Coordinator, Pricila Rodriguez (brr023@ucsd.edu), for questions or additional information.

Frequently Asked Questions

What expenses are covered?

Expenses Covered:

  • Graduate school application fees (max. 3 per academic year) 
  • Graduate school test preparation course (max. 1 program per academic year)
  • Graduate school exam fees (GRE, LSAT MCAT etc.) (max. 1 program per academic year)
  • Graduate School Test Preparation Materials. See the message below. 
  • Professional conference attendance fees
  • Professional conference travel expenses (lodging and travel). Meals are not covered. 
  • UCSD extension courses geared toward professional development, grad school test prep courses, or leadership development

What expenses are not covered?

Expenses not covered:

  • Laptops or ipads
  • Professional clothing attire
  • Professional headshots or pictures
  • Degree-related expenses such as student fees, tuition, and books for classes are not covered.
  • Expenses that have occurred and that were not pre-approved for reimbursement.
  • Expenses for activities taking place in future academic years.
  • Expenses purchased prior to application approval (i.e. no retroactive reimbursements)

How can I pay for test prep materials?

We have made it easier for students to request funding to pay for graduate school test preparation materials. If you intend to use the grant to buy test prep materials (books, flashcards, etc.) only, click here. 

How much does the grant cover?

Eligible students may receive up to $1,000 in aid per academic year as long as funding remains available. Students may use the full $1,000 at once or in pieces. For example, a student may be granted $500 in the fall quarter to cover conference expenses and $500 in the spring to cover the cost of a GRE prep course.