Light the Way Emergency Fund

In celebration of the 125th anniversary of Seminary Hall, President Steve Turner issued a challenge to the Northeastern State University Centurions and President's Circle donors to establish an emergency fund for NSU students in need. This new funding source is designed to assist students (undergraduate and graduate) during times of crisis in order for them to maintain their enrollment. It is designed to enable a student to meet a short-term financial hardship and is maintained by the Northeastern State University Foundation.

The Light the Way Emergency Fund is not a loan, however, students who receive support are strongly encouraged to donate back to the NSU Foundation Light the Way Emergency Fund in the future so other students also benefit in times of need.

Please Note: Emergency funds may impact current or future financial aid awards. Students should be sure to understand these implications prior to applying for Light the Way Emergency Funds.

Tahlequah - Division of Student Affairs Administrative Office
Phone: 918-444-2120
Fax: 918-458-2340
Administration Building, Second Floor

Applications may also be submitted to:

Broken Arrow - Division of Student Affairs Administrative Office
Administration Services Building, Second Floor

Muskogee - Dean's Administrative Office
Administration Building, First Floor

Award Process

The Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and/or designee(s) will be charged with the award review process. Applications will be reviewed by the Assistant VPSA and/or designated team member(s) whose job responsibilities align with assisting students in need. Awards will be determined based on the established criteria outlined in the application. Student Financial Services will verify the student has met with a representative to ensure all financial resources have been exhausted. Award amount will be determined based on the request, proof of need, and available funds. Most awards will not exceed $500, unless extenuating circumstances warrant a higher amount.

Requests received from Muskogee and Broken Arrow campuses will be processed in Tahlequah. The Dean's Administrative Office will serve as the central receiving sight for the Muskogee campus. The Student Affairs Administrative Office will be the central receiving site for the Broken Arrow campus.

All requests and awards will be tracked and recorded for student retention monitoring and reporting purposes. Records will be centrally located in the Vice President's Administrative Office on the Tahlequah campus. An annual report from the Student Affairs Vice President to the President and NSU Foundation will be submitted by June 30th of each year. The annual report will summarize the number of student awarded funds, amount awarded, type of needs addressed, and student persistence data.

The Foundation will provide an annual Light the Way Fund donors report. Recipients of funds who have given back to Light the Way Fund will be highlighted once appropriate consent and releases of information are obtained.


The Light the Way Emergency Fund may be used to assist students with unexpected emergency expenses such as:

  • Replacement of necessary items following fire, theft, or natural disaster
  • Travel costs related to a death or illness of immediate family member
  • Unanticipated and/or extraordinary child expenses, including, but not limited to, child-care, formula, and diapers
  • Medical Bill or Medications
  • Sudden emergency move or change in living conditions or to prevent homelessness
  • Safety needs (i.e. lock changes)
  • Car repairs and operation in excess of typical wear and tear usage issues.

Expenses NOT covered by the Light the Way Emergency Fund:

  • Tuition, fees, books
  • Normal vehicle maintenance costs
  • Basic housing and living expenses such as rent, utilities, or deposit
  • Food expenses


All applicants must be in good standing with the university and be enrolled in at least 6 hours at the time of application.

A student may only receive funds once during their academic career at Northeastern State University. Other resources must be unavailable or have been exhausted or insufficient in order to qualify for Light the Way Emergency Fund. A student must be able to provide documentation to support the request for funds such as bills, medical documents, receipts, estimates for repairs, photographs, letters of support, newspaper articles, court documents, police reports, etc.

Applicants may complete the Light the Way Emergency Fund application (pdf) and turn it in along with supporting documentation to the Administrative Division of Student Affairs located on the second floor of the Administration Building. Once an application is received, Student Affairs designee(s), in partnership with the Foundation and Financial Aid office, will review applications, reach a decision regarding whether or not a student qualifies for the award, and will then contact the student regarding their decision. Light the Way Emergency Funds are limited, and awards are subject to availability.

Applicants may be required to meet with one or more members of the review committee to discuss their application.


Students may apply for Light the Way Emergency Fund (pdf) at any time, however, a student may only be awarded Light the Way Emergency Funds once during their time as a student at Northeastern State University.

Award amounts will typically not exceed $500. Should a student require a greater amount, a team composed of trained staff familiar with financial aid and other resources available at Northeastern State University will evaluate the circumstances, determine if the student is eligible to receive the funds and provide additional support.

If approved, a student will be notified of that approval. Funds will then be distributed through NSU's Way2Go debit card or through electronic disbursement to a student's bank account in keeping with the student's refund information logged through the Manage Bursar Account icon on goNSU. In most cases, funds will be distributed within 2 business days of funding approval. Notification of disbursement will be provided to the student via email. If banking information or the NSU Way2Go are not set up please contact the business office for assistance. If needed, production and receipt of an NSU Way2Go card will add an additional 7-10 day processing time.

Eligibility will be in part determined by a student's current Financial Aid status. Only when Financial Aid options are exhausted will a student be considered for Light the Way funding. The Emergency Fund Application reviewers will determine the appropriate funding amount should a student meet criteria for the award.

Awards are subject to the availability of funds. Decisions regarding funding will be made on a case-by-case basis and are considered final.

A follow-up meeting may be required in order for you to provide documentation regarding the use of funds and/or to connect you with other resources as needed.