Policy on Auburn University Hardship Fund

The Employee Hardship Fund provides financial support to eligible Auburn employees (Staff, Administrative & Professional and Faculty) who are experiencing a temporary financial hardship due to a qualifying life event. It is funded entirely by voluntary charitable donations.

UPDATE: AU employees can now apply for funding.To ensure the fund’s solvency, $50,000 was required to be raised before the Fund Review Committee could begin to accept applications from employees. Due to the generosity of Auburn University employees and supporters, the fund reached $50,000 in June 2022.  

Who is Eligible?

  • A full-time employee of Auburn University, with a minimum of one year of continuous service, can apply for funding. (Staff, Administrative & Professional and Faculty)

  • An immediate family member of the eligible employee can also apply on behalf of an employee who is unable to do so.

  • The applicant must not have any disciplinary actions that resulted from violating Auburn University's Personnel Policies and Procedures within the past 12 months.

  • If an employee is being investigated for potential violations thereof, the application will be placed “on hold” pending the final decision. If cleared, the employee will be eligible for consideration for financial assistance from the Fund.

How Do I Apply?

You can apply by completing and submitting one of the following:

Financial records, billing statements, and/or estimates should be submitted as supporting documentation with the application.

The Review and/or Approval Process

  • The Executive Director of Campus Relations will prepare applications for the Fund Review Committee, omitting any identifying information in order to preserve anonymity. Applications will be reviewed anonymously by the Fund Review Committee.

  • The Executive Director of Campus Relations communicates the committee's decision to the applicant and, if approved, submits paperwork for payment to Human Resources according to established procedure, and follows up to ensure payment has been processed and received.

  • Taxes will be deducted from the financial assistance consistent with applicable tax laws. However, every effort will be made to ensure the full requested amount will be disbursed to the applicant and taxes will be deducted such that the final disbursement is as close to the requested amount as administratively possible.

  • Approval is subject to extent of need, satisfactory completion of the application and availability of funds. All decisions of the Fund Review Committee are final. There will be no appeals process.

  • Financial assistance applications will be reviewed anonymously and Fund Review Committee members will not be given the individual name associated with any application. Information provided by applicants will be treated as confidential and shared only with individuals directly involved in fund administration, processing, and tax reporting.

How Do I Contribute?

Any person or entity is eligible to donate to the Fund.

  • Donations cannot be earmarked for a specific individual, department, college, etc.

  • Donations are tax deductible to the extent provided by law.

  • Regarding tax information, donors should discuss any questions related to deductibility with a personal tax advisor.

Contributing to the fund is easy, and donors can make a one-time or ongoing gift. They can also share gift credit with or give in honor or memory of another person. 

Ways to Contribute


You can apply if you meet both of the following criteria:

  • You are a full-time employee of Auburn University, with a minimum of one year of continuous service. (An immediate family member can also apply on your behalf if you are unable to do so.)

  • You have not had any disciplinary actions that resulted in violating Auburn University's Personnel Policies and Procedures within the past 12 months. (If you are being investigated for potential violations, your application will be placed “on hold” pending the final decision. If cleared, you will be eligible for consideration for financial assistance from the Fund.)

Yes, you may apply for hardship funds more than one time. However, you may not receive more than one award per rolling 12-month period, and you cannot receive more than $4,000 your lifetime.

No, financial assistance is limited to one recipient or one person per household per catastrophic event.

A qualifying event is defined as extreme misfortune experienced by the employee or the employee's immediate family member for reasons beyond his or her control that prevents the employee from meeting basic living expenses. Examples of such events include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Death of a family member

  • Unusual uninsured medical expenses caused by severe illness or accident

  • Losses to primary residence (rental properties where the lessor is the applicant are excluded) caused by fire, crime, flood or other disasters except as described in the policy

  • Unusual uninsured expenses for the care of a family member

  • Insupportable indebtedness occurring for reasons beyond the individual's control

Refer to the Auburn University Hardship Policy for further information.

The documentation will be determined by the reason of the request of hardship funds. Examples may include but are not limited to:

  • Certification of medical condition

  • Certified death certificate

  • Obituary

  • Medical bill(s)

  • Insurance claims

  • Police reports

  • Expense receipts

  • Foreclosure or eviction notices

Refer to the Auburn University Hardship Policy for further information.

After an award is approved, the proper documentation will be provided to Payroll for processing of the payment of award through a payroll action. You can reasonably expect to receive funds within a two-week period.

No, the supervisor does not approve the award payment.

The Fund has been established through donations and contributions from the campus community. The award funds do not have to be paid back to the University.

The maximum award amount is $2,000 per catastrophic event subject to availability of funding. The Fund balance will not be allowed to fall below $20,000. 

Contact Human Resources at (334) 844-4145 or univhr@auburn.edu.


  • Catastrophic community events such as mass destruction due to acts of god (weather, earthquake, and other natural unavoidable events) or other similar occurrences are not qualifying events for which financial assistance from the Fund will be made.

  • Common life occurrences such as routine car and home repairs, car and home maintenance, legal fees, monthly bills, animal care, and living beyond one's means are not qualifying events. The Fund is not designed to replace all losses or to reimburse the cost of nonessential, luxury or decorative items or services.

  • Also, financial hardships caused by garnishments, payday/title loans, and student loans do not qualify an employee for assistance.

Fund Review Committee

The Fund Review Committee shall consist of six appointed representatives from each of the following groups:

  • Administrative and Professional Assembly (2)

  • Staff Council (2)

  • University Senate (2)

A representative from Human Resources will serve on the committee as a continuing, non-voting member.

Committee members will serve three-year staggered terms unless otherwise specified.

Committee appointments will become effective July 1 and expire on June 30. At the initial constitution, two members will serve one-year terms, two members will serve two-year terms and two members will serve three-year terms. All subsequent appointments will be for three years.

Selection of the terms for the initial constitution of the committee will be accomplished by random drawing. The committee members will be selected by the Nominations and Elections committees of each of the three governance bodies through the normal and established process for university committee selection.

For More Information

Contact University Human Resources at (334) 844-4145 or univhr@auburn.edu.

Last updated: 12/15/2023