Tips for Grads: Basic needs resources

By Rebecca Makowski, MSW Student and Basic Needs Assistant in the Office of Student Financial Aid

Being a graduate student presents its own set of unique challenges, including meeting your basic needs. Navigating the resources available can be daunting but the basic needs team within the Office of Student Financial Aid is here to help! We can provide guidance in finding resources for food insecurity, rental/housing concerns, insurance assistance, and clothing needs.

Check out some of our frequently shared resources:

FoodShare Benefits

As a student, if you are working a work study job you are eligible for FoodShare benefits! FoodShare is a government program that gives cash benefits on a card that can be used for groceries. Work Study is a need-based, part-time government program in which the government and the employers share the payroll cost. As a graduate student, it is important that you answer “yes” to the work study question in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to ensure it is added to your financial aid package. You can reach out to the Office of Student Financial Aid if think you might be eligible for Federal Work Study but were not offered this award for 2022-2023 or 2023-2024. Learn more about work study.


We are working with Purposity to help students get their basic needs met. If there is an item that is necessary to meet a basic need you can submit a request! We frequently post requests for winter clothing, hygiene products, and school supplies. Please read through the form for more information on Purposity’s requirements.

Do you want to help a fellow student? Find out how you can donate with Purposity! We have had a large uptake in requests and would greatly appreciate help with getting needs met.

Other Frequently Used Resources

There are many more basic needs resources out there to help you! Please contact us if you want any assistance finding resources, we are here to help no matter how big or small your concern is.

Tips for Grads is a professional and academic advice column written by graduate students for graduate students at UW­–Madison. It is published in the student newsletter, GradConnections Weekly.