For Graduate Students

The Basic Needs Center is committed to supporting our graduate student community. The resources below provide urgent relief for graduate student basic needs, but are not exhaustive.

If you have further questions, or know of a resource that could be added below, please email us at basicneedscenter@berkeley.edu.

Food

  • CalFresh: Also known as SNAP/EBT, is a long term food assistance program that awards eligible students up to $250 per month for groceries
    • Graduate students, similar to undergraduates, must meet certain guidelines in order to qualify for CalFresh. For graduate students, the most likely to qualify those who:
      • Are part of any of the following programs:
        • Doctor of Optometry (OD)
        • Juris Doctorate (JD)
        • Master of Public Affairs (MPA)
        • Master of Public Health (MPH)
        • Master of Public Policy (MPP)
        • Master of Social Welfare (MSW)
        • School of Psychology (Ph.D.)
        • Berkeley Educations for Equity and Excellence
        • Doctoral Leaders for Equity and Democracy
        • Principal Leadership Institute
      • Have been approved for work study (even if you do not have a work study job)
      • Work 20 hours/week or an average of 80 hours/month
      • Have dependents under the age of 12
      • Receive services from the Disabled Students Program (DSP)
    • Must be a US Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident to apply. If not, please apply for the Food Assistance Program (listed below) instead
    • Food Justice Project serves students who have been denied CalFresh benefits and can assist with the appeals process
  • Food Assistance Program: Short term financial award for non-CalFresh eligible students with financial need
  • Food Pantry: Emergency food relief supply offering items such as rice, pasta, milk, cereal, freezer items, and fresh produce. The pantry is currently located on the 1st floor of the MLK Student Union and students and staff are welcome to come up to once per week. There are no eligibility requirements and all you need is your Cal ID or Cal ID # (if you don’t have your physical card).
    • The Bear Pantry: Emergency food relief for low-income student families living in University Village Apartments
    • Food Now: Find food pantries or soup kitchens near you, or call the Emergency Food Helpline at 510-635-3663

Housing

  • Emergency Housing: short-term emergency housing for students facing imminent loss of housing or currently unhoused
    • Eligibility:

      • Student must be enrolled in the current semester

      • Student is currently houseless or is at imminent risk of losing housing

    • Provides:

      • Up to 7 days in a hotel room, OR

      • Up to 60 days at Brill House (Russell Street location @MLK)

  • Housing Security Deposit Award: Financial support for students facing severe housing insecurity and need assistance in paying security deposits to secure off- or on-campus housing
  • Emergency Rental Assistance: Short term assistance with one month's rent
  • Housing Guide: The Graduate Assembly's list of best practices for finding housing in the Bay area
  • Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board: Obtain information about tenant rights, resources, and responsibilities from a Housing Counselor with the Berkeley Rent Board.

Finances

Grants & Fellowships:

Employment:

Health Care

  • Health Opportunity Fund:Up to $130 to use for services at the Tang Center. Available for:
    • Graduate students who have filed a FAFSA for the current year and have Pell Grant equivalent eligibility, or
    • Actively registered students in the Disabled Students Program
  • International Student Need-Based Medical Fund: Medical fund for international students with unanticipated medical costs 
  • Orion Fund: Grants for students in health crises to fund health costs, medical technology, and other living expenses. Available for:
    • California college students age 32 or under, confronted with a health crisis
  • Medical & Mental Health Expenses Fund: Emergency financial support to cover emergency bills and cost prohibitive out-of-pocket expenses including mental health services, specialist services, disability testing, vision and dental care, and reproductive health services.

Holistic Healing

  • Freedom Community Clinic: A local, Bay Area organization that provides medical and holistic health services including massage therapy, breathwork, acupuncture, and much more. Students, staff, and faculty can sign up for a 30-minute, on-campus session for our Healing Thursdays:https://calendly.com/bnc-healing. In partnership with the BNC, all on-campus services for the UC Berkeley community are free of charge. 

    • Students seeking individual care can fill out theFCC Healing Session form. Their first 3 off-campus visits are covered by the Basic Needs Center as long as they specify they are from UC Berkeley in the financial contribution section of the form.

Mental Wellness

  • Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS):CAP hosts graduate specific programming including:
    • Graduate Counseling: Has many groups open to both grad and undergrad, and also grad-specific groups. Covered under SHIP

  • CAPS career counseling: Stressed about graduating and entering the workforce? Unsure about your direction? Sign up to meet with a career counselor to talk about entering this new stage of your life. Covered under SHIP.

  • The Graduate Wellness Center:A satellite office for CAPS. The Wellness Center provides graduate-focused wellness and mental health services, including individual, couples, and group counseling, and virtual workshops specific to graduate students

    • Make a telephone counseling appointment by calling Dr. Amy Honigman at: (510) 664-5117
  • Berkeley Free Clinic Peer Counseling: Free, confidential phone sessions with peer counselors trained in active listening

Transportation

  • Bear Transit: Bear Transit is UC Berkeley’s shuttle system, servicing the campus Berkeley community. Provides convenient transportation between:

    • Campus, Downtown Berkeley BART, Parking lots, Residence Halls and Clark Kerr campus, Hill area, Campus shared services on 4th Street & North Berkeley BART (returning January 2022)

    • Disabled Transportation: All daytime shuttles, P-Line, RFS-Line, and H-Line, are equipped with wheelchair lifts

  • AC Transit: Public buses operating in the East Bay. Learn more about free unlimited AC Transit rides for students through EasyPass

    • The following are excluded from the Easy Pass:

      • MICS - Master of Information and Cybersecurity

      • MIDS - Master of Information and Data Science

      • MASIC - Master of Advanced Study in Integrated Circuits

      • OOMPH - Online Master of Public Health

      • Hybrid-LLM - Master of Laws 

      • MSSE -  Master of Molecular Science and Software

Undocumented Students

Students with Dependents

More Support/Advising @ The Graduate Division

The Graduate Division provides a variety of academic, personal, diversity, and professional support services to help the well-being and success of academic and professional graduate students. For assistance navigating these resources, sign up for a 15-minute virtual appointment with Graduate Student Life Director Larissa Charnsangavej at https://calendly.com/larissa-charn/graduate-life or email gradlife@berkeley.edu

More Support @ The Graduate Assembly

The Graduate Assembly is the official representative body of the graduate and professional students at the University of California, Berkeley. For a list of resources, please visit https://ga.berkeley.edu/resources/.