For the purpose of this fund, a medical emergency is a condition, injury, or illness that poses a risk to a person’s life, long-term health, or well-being and requires timely intervention. Prescriptions or medical care costs related to on-going, non-emergency conditions are NOT covered.

Equity in Mental Health Fund (EMH) for Students with Financial Need

Students are encouraged to complete a SMERF application to be considered for the Equity in Mental Health Assistance grant. The EMH was provided by the State of California to help University of California address the mental health needs of students. The EMH fund at UCSB is specifically intended to address the financial barriers which prevent students from accessing mental health resources. Some examples of costs associated with Mental Health include assessment & testing, medications, & co-pays that are not already covered by insurance. Other expenses related to accessing needed mental health services & supports may be considered. If you would like to be considered for this fund source in particular, please indicate "Mental Health" on the SMERF application under Type of Emergency.

Please note that on-going co-pay expenses may have some limits, but we encourage you to state your needs and we will do what we can to help address the need. 


We would like to thank each and every student for voting yes on the SMERF Initiative. Because of your vote, you have helped your fellow students in need. 


"I would like to thank you all profusely for granting me this substantial award of aid toward my medical expenses. As an independent graduate student with heavy debt and a meager income, barely able to pay my groceries at present, these relief funds help considerably to alleviate my immediate financial strain and the attached mental stress. For these months following my freak double emergency, I've been riddled with anxiety, unsure of how I would manage to pay these bills anytime in the near future, given the extent and depth of my present financial issues. I have feared both for long term— the doubtless increasing impact to my credit, and what debilitations that will cost me in my future— and for the very pressing short-term concerns of making it through the month. It is a trial enough to be in graduate school, even given perfect health and sound finances, without all this worry. Staying the course when either or both legs of health or finances are compromised is no easy task. You have made it all the more endurable for me to continue on (much less stressed) forward toward my academic pursuit of a better future— better not only for myself but hopefully for others, as through my very research I aim to find the conditions under which our society might learn to better support its citizens (particularly its students and individuals in medical need) in the first place."


"I cannot adequately express in words my profound gratitude for the kindness that you all have shown me and of those who have established and supported this organization for such situations as mine. My words are limited, but I hope that through my future successes in the world I might better repay the favor you all bestowed upon me the other day. Thank you all again."

"I am writing a letter to show my deepest appreciation for all SMERF members to help me out my medical emergency last year. I have been moved deeply from my heart and feel really lucky of being a UCSB student and being taken good care of by SMERF resources. Moreover, I would like to pass that loving and caring to others who may need help in the future in whatever way I am capable of."

"From my own experience and my humble opinion, SMERF does fulfill its original intention and indeed helps prevent Ina Kristiansen’s tragedy from happening again. Hopefully, in the near future, I could spread the beneficial I got from SMERF today to continue fulfilling SMERF’s original intention."

"I am so grateful of the existence of the SMERF Grant and that it could help me. It took great strides in making my almost insurmountable medical debt and make it more manageable once I can secure employment to pay the remainder of the debt. It was unfortunate enough that I fell ill and required emergency surgery a week before finals, but despite having Gaucho insurance there was a bill remaining of several thousand dollars. With the grant I finally have the prospect of getting the debt under control and am confident it soon will no longer serve as a barrier in securing funding to continue my education. I am hopeful again that financial obstacles will no longer hold me back due to my health problems."

"My story can be normal among other SMERF grant recipient. Unexpected high bills (four times more than insurance advisor estimated) for a simple test and high deductibles from insurance company destroy my belief that I am actually covered by my student health insurance. I tried to ask why I have unexpected high cost from the hospital and of course the answer is ‘An estimate is an average number and it is not accurate’. Thanks to SMERF and student health service, I am greatly relieved from the confusion and anxiety of my bills. Most importantly, those help alleviates my fear of visiting hospital in the future as a student."