When students lose a family member or close friend

Death of a Family Member or Close Friend

When a family member or person close to a student dies, someone in housing (if the student lives in campus housing), and/or someone working on campus with some involvement in the student's life may want to send condolences, either by phone or mail. It may be appropriate to send a condolence card signed by members of the department or organization.

The chancellor encourages the use of department funds to send flowers or other appropriate gifts within the scope of applicable funding and personnel policy.

Students suffering a loss are encouraged to contact the Counseling Services at University Health Services

A Note to Faculty and Teaching Assistants

When a student is grieving and in mourning, their regular academic performance may be affected. They may experience many of the symptoms of grief which can include difficulty with concentration, getting insufficient sleep and missing classes due to travel to be with family/friends.

Faculty and teaching assistants may want to be sensitive to grieving or mourning students. It may be the first time that a student has experienced a death of a relative or friend and may be unaware of what to expect in terms of their own way of grieving. They may not be sufficiently aware of their symptoms to be able to articulate them clearly and to recognize the impact on their studies. This may contribute to their reluctance to discuss the situation with you. If you become aware of the death of someone in the life of one of your students, please ask how they are doing and to let you know if any special needs arise that you can assist with.

If you are uncomfortable making special accomodations, such as extensions on deadlines, make-up exams, and incomplete grades for the grieving student, please consult with your Chair and/or Social Services, University Health Services, 642-6074.

For more information about signs and stages of grief, please see Grief and Loss.

Emergency Loans

The death of a family member or close friend can cause financial hardship. It may be necessary to cover the unexpected costs of child or elder care, shipping of remains, travel, attorney fees, accommodations and funeral arrangements.

Students may be eligible for short-term emergency loans; see for more information.