Following an apartment fire last week in the Casa Blanca Apartment building on University Avenue that displaced 50 University of Wisconsin students, the Dean of Students office is raising awareness about a “crisis fund.”

Crisis loans are available for students that have experienced unexpected life events or circumstances that cause financial hardship, a UW statement said. Loans can be requested for up to $500 and cannot be used for paying tuition, fees or any fines, the statement said.

The funding for the crisis loan comes from private donors and the fundraising of student organizations, the statement said.

John Lucas, UW spokesperson, said the fund is for any enrolled student as long as they do not have a previous unpaid crisis loan.

The fund has been used “thousands of times” because of its convenience, Lucas said. The repayment period is negotiable, usually three to six months and there is no interest, he said.

Students interested in applying for the loan need to fill out a loan application in the Dean of Student’s office, and an appointment is scheduled for the next day with an assistant dean to discuss the application, Lucas said.

Lucas said having the fund is important for UW students.

“It helps students who, without the help, may have their academic career compromised,” Lucas said.

UW’s many colleges and academic departments also have a variety of other short-term loan programs, Lucas said.

No students affected by the fire on University Avenue have taken advantage of the program as of yet, the statement said.