Student Emergency Assistance Fund

Student Emergency Assistance Fund

The Student Emergency Assistance Fund is a joint venture led by the Office of the Provost, Office of Philanthropic & Alumni Engagement, Student Government Board, the Graduate & Professional Student Government, and the Division of Student Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh. The health and safety of our Pitt community, particularly our students, is paramount. The fund, to be administered at the direction of the Provost, will be used to provide financial support for degree-seeking students of the University of Pittsburgh with unanticipated and insurmountable expenses related to emergency situations that may result in students facing financial hardship. Undergraduate, graduate, and professional students may apply for funds when they experience a financial barrier based on an emergency situation, and when they have exhausted all other available resources.

If a student is approved for funding, they may not apply again. The emergency funding is a one-time offer.

Expenses Covered by the Fund

Examples of emergency expenses to be considered include, but are not limited to:

  • Medications and other costs related to emergency medical care (for self or dependent only)
  • Overdue utility bills reaching a turn-off notice
  • Homelessness, sudden loss of housing, or imminent eviction
  • Safety needs (i.e. changing a lock)
  • Replacement/repair of essential personal belongings such as damaged computer, or temporary housing needs, due to fire, theft, or natural disaster
  • Travel costs related to a death or illness in the immediate family
  • Loss of childcare
  • Up to $600 may be requested

Expenses Not Covered by the Fund

  • Tuition, fees, health insurance, and study abroad costs
  • Non-essential personal bills such as: current utility, credit card, cable, cell phone, etc.
  • Parking tickets, library fines, or other expenses mistakenly incurred
  • Funds for the replacement of lost or stolen items
  • Purchase of new laptop or computer

Eligibility Requirements

Pitt undergraduate and graduate/professional students may apply for emergency funds. Each applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • Demonstrate financial hardship
  • Experience an emergency, accident, illness, or other unforeseen event among the “covered” examples above
  • Was enrolled as a full-time or part-time, degree-seeking student for the 2023 spring term or is currently enrolled as a full-time or part-time degree-seeking student for the 2023 spring term or 2024 fall term.

Applicants must complete all questions in full and submit a justification and supporting documentation as the situation allows. Examples of supporting documentation include but are not limited to:

  • Eviction notice
  • Utility bills indicating shut-off notice
  • Medical bills
  • Childcare facility closing notices

Documentation in support of request is required for application review. Applications without sufficient documentation may cause delay in review.

Students with non-emergent financial hardships that do not qualify for the Student Emergency Assistance Fund, including student account balances, are encouraged to contact the Office of Financial Aid directly to discuss their situation and talk about possible aid options.

Application Process

Questions may be directed to

Completed applications are reviewed by members of the Student Emergency Assistance Fund Advisory Committee that includes representatives from Student Affairs and the Office of Financial Aid. A member of the committee will respond to emergency application submissions within 1 week, or 5-7 business days.

The maximum emergency aid allocation to a student will be $600. Each application is carefully reviewed to ensure all other financial aid resources are maximized first. Payment will be distributed as soon as possible consistent with University policies and procedures. Disbursement time is typically 3-5 days after notification of an award.

Students should set up direct deposit in PittPAY

How Do I Sign Up for Direct Deposit (eRefunds)?

  1. Log onto PittPAY from the Student PittPay Login at
  2. Select the eRefund tab.
  3. Enter your bank routing and account information
  4. Once you save the information, you will receive a confirmation email from PittPAY.

Students should be aware that emergency funding may create a taxable event that could require reporting to the IRS by the recipient.

Appeal Process

Students may re-apply to the fund 14 days after their original request if their request was denied and their circumstances have changed. In addition to re-submitting the application, students must provide additional details and documentation to augment the original request.

Submit your application for the Student Emergency Assistance Fund.

Tenant’s Rights

The Oakland Planning and Development Corporation has issued a blog post with resources for both renters and homeowners. Students who live off-campus should be aware of their rights as tenants. Students who have concerns about landlord-tenant issues can also contact the Student Legal Services attorney provided by the Student Government Board.

Giving to the Emergency Fund

Students who would benefit from the Emergency Assistance Fund are experiencing a uniquely difficult time in their lives. The number of students benefiting from the Emergency Assistance Fund is limited to the availability of funds. Seeded by funding from alumni donors, Student Affairs, and the Student Government Board, the fund must be sustained by contributions from alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and friends of the University to ensure success.

To contribute, please visit the Student Emergency Assistance Fund Giving Form.