COVID-19 Graduate Student Resources

The GA has compiled a list of resources for graduate students to help support student wellness and ensure that all students are able to continue their important academic endeavors during this difficult time. If you have questions about a resource or would like to suggest an additional resource to be posted to this page, please contact

GA Initiatives

  • COVID-19 Relief Fund: On April 2, 2020, the Graduate Assembly voted to establish a COVID-19 Relief Fund (here), which will provide up to $200,000 to support graduate students facing unexpected hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you to all of the graduate Registered Student Organizations who have donated their unused funds to this cause – for more information and a list of contributing RSOs, see the GA Press Release
    • University Village Bear Pantry: The GA distributed $30,000 to the University Village Bear Pantry which provides food and household goods to UV residents in need. See the GA Press Release for more information and resources.
    • COVID-19 Testing Program: The GA helped secure funding from CACSSF for a COVID-19 testing program at University Village. We understand UHS will begin implementing this in May.
    • Basic Needs Center and Student Advocate’s Office: The GA Executive Board voted to direct $70,000 of the COVID-19 Relief Fund to food assistance programs run by the Basic Needs Center and Student Advocate’s Office. These funds will keep these critical support resources available while longer-term programs are developed.
    • Campus Emergency Aid Program: The GA has been working to support the rollout of a campus emergency aid program that is scheduled to be announced soon.
  • Campus Policies: The GA Executive Board is continuing to monitor campus policies and communicate concerns and suggestions to University administration. If you have any thoughts about any school policy related to the ongoing crisis, please email, directly. We will maintain complete anonymity for any information we receive.

UCB COVID-19 Relief Funds

Do you have financial need for the Spring 2020 term as a result of COVID-19?  If so, you may be eligible for relief funds to support your housing, food, technology, and/or medical/health needs. UC Berkeley COVID-19 Relief Funds are for currently enrolled undergraduate, graduate, international, and undocumented students.

  • Financial Aid & Scholarships Office (FASO) COVID-19 Relief Fund: Apply by completing a Cost of Attendance Adjustment Request if you:
    • Filed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2019-20 academic year; OR
    • Filed a California Dream Act Application (CADAA) for the 2019-20 academic year
  • Basic Needs Center COVID-19 Relief Fund: Fill out the application if you:
    • Did not file a FAFSA or CADAA for the 2019-20 academic year;
    • Are an international student; OR
    • Are an undocumented/non-Dream Act aid recipient
    • For more information, please visit In order to access our Google site, you must be logged into your Berkeley email or Gmail account.

Graduate Wellness Center and CAPS

The Graduate Wellness Center and CAPS are still providing services to graduate and professional students during the Shelter-in-Place order:

  • Dr. Amy Honigman is available for counseling sessions by phone. Visit the Wellness Center website for contact information and call to schedule an appointment.
  • Students can access the Therapy Assisted Online (TAO) library which provides interactive programs and therapy exercises.
  • CAPS is providing Mental Health Workshops throughout April to help students cope with stress and practice mindfulness
  • During this time, students are not required to have an authorized referral from CAPS in order to seek therapy in the community using their SHIP insurance. Students will however, need to contact the SHIP office either by phone or a secure message through eTang patient portal to request authorization. See the UHS website for more information.

University Administration Support

This message was sent to members of the UC Berkeley Academic Senate to remind faculty of the hardships which graduate students may be facing during this time. If you do not feel that your department is providing sufficient support and mentorship or is not operating in the spirit of this message, please email the GA President at, directly. We will maintain complete anonymity for any information we receive.

Laptop and WiFi Hotspot Lending Program

The Student Technology Fund is distributing laptops and WiFi hotspots with paid service plans to students who have completed the Student Technology Needs assessment. With the help of a coalition of staff from the Student Union, Student Affairs IT, and the Basic Needs Center, the devices will be distributed to students in person from Unit 2 and by mail.

UC Berkeley Student Travel Insurance

UC Berkeley provides free travel insurance to students who are travelling more than 100 miles from their home campus on activities sponsored and supervised by the University. Check out this website to learn how to get covered BEFORE you travel on a UC-related or UC-funded trip.

Basic Needs Center COVID-19 Living Guide

For information on services such as food pantries, housing support, and financial resources, check out the UC Berkeley Basic Needs Center COVID-19 Living Guide.

Back-Up Child Care for Student Parents

Students with dependents are now eligible for 64 hours of subsidized back-up care if their child’s school is closed, or their regular caregiver is not available. Students must be currently enrolled in courses this term and can sign up for the back-up care program here.

If care is not available through the Bright Horizons Network, student parents have the option to secure care using their own personal network — a neighbor, friend, or babysitter — and receive a reimbursement of $100 per day (8 hours).

Questions? Email

Undocumented Student Program Resources

USP is providing services in response to COVID-19 including financial support, academic counseling, mental health support, and immigration legal support. Visit the USP website for more information.

Conducting Research during Shelter-in-Place

Some campus laboratories have started to work on “essential” COVID-19 research, putting graduate students in a difficult position when asked by their PIs to help with such projects. If you have any concerns regarding your current situation, or your expectations/requirements to go to campus to do “essential” research, especially COVID-19 research, please reach out to the student rep on the Biosafety committee at The committee would like to keep track of these situations.

Emergency Rental Assistance Program

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program, funded by the Student Basic Needs Fee, supports both undergrad and grad students with significant financial need in meeting a month’s rent. Learn more by visiting the Student Advocate’s Office Website.

Increase in Normative Time for Doctoral Students

In light of the unprecedented disruptions experienced by the campus community, the Graduate Division has approved a blanket one-semester increase in normative time for doctoral students. To extend a student’s normative time, Graduate Student Affairs Officers should request an extension through the Graduate Division Exceptions eForm. This is best done near the end of a student’s career, when impacts of expiring normative time may become relevant for some students. International students should consult the Berkeley International Office regarding any changes to their degree plans.

UCB Library Updates and Digital Resources

Because of the closure of campus libraries, all students now have access to HathiTrust’s Emergency Temporary Access Service. The service provides access to digital versions of millions of the physical volumes held by libraries across the 10-campus University of California system. The materials are available to current UC Berkeley faculty, staff, and students with CalNet IDs. To access the materials, go to the HathiTrust Digital Library and log in with your CalNet ID. Visit the Berkeley Library website for more information on this program or for more resources, check out the COVID-19 Portal for UC Berkeley Library Users.

Free Course Materials

The Cal Student Store is offering a no-cost solution to students who may have lost access to course materials that they previously shared with classmates or instructors, or accessed via the library. Today through May 25, 2020, access to an expansive catalog (tens of thousands of ebooks) of eTexts will be available for free to students via VitalSource.All you need to do is to log-in to the VitalSource Bookshelf app using your Berkeley email address to view course materials from participating publishers. As with many free offers, this offer does end so please pay close attention to the expiration date to avoid unnecessary charges.

Suspend Rent UC Movement

UCB graduate students have started a Suspend Rent UC Movement – help them to understand the impact coronavirus has had on our communities by filling out their Rent Survey

 National Grad Crisis Line

The National Grad Crisis Line helps graduate students reach free, confidential telephone counseling, crisis intervention, suicide prevention, and information and referral services provided by specially-trained call-takers. Reach the Crisis Line at 1.877.GRAD.HLP (1.877.472.3457).