Emergency Funding and Meal Assistance

The Student Emergency Funding and Meal Assistance 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.

Meal Assistance

Students can now apply for meal assistance through the Student Emergency Funding and Meal Assistance application in PittFundSMe. If approved for meal assistance, the student is provided 15 meal swipes through their Panther ID card ($180 value) to access meals at Pitt Campus eateries.  Meal swipes are a short-term intervention to support students facing acute food insecurity, while other resources are explored through navigation from the Care and Resource Support Office. 

Maximum Amount of Student Emergency Funding

Up to $600 may be requested.

If a student is approved for Student Emergency Funding, they may not apply again. The Student Emergency Fund is a one-time offer. 

Expenses Covered by the Student Emergency 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)
  • Past due utility bills reaching a late notification
  • 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
  • Loss of finances for victims of a financial scam or fraudulent activity
Expenses Not Covered by the Student Emergency 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 physical items
  • Purchase of new laptop or computer
Student Emergency Funding and Meal Assistance 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 (for the Student Emergency Fund)
  • A lack of food that impacts health and daily activities (for Meal Assistance)
  • Was enrolled as a full-time or part-time, degree-seeking student for the 2023 fall term or is currently enrolled as a full-time or part-time degree-seeking student for the 2024 spring term.
  • Emergency funds will be counted as estimated financial assistance (EFA) so there must be room in your cost of attendance (COA) to be awarded.
  • 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.

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 Police report for financial scams or fraudulent activity


Student Emergency Funding and Meal Assistance Application Process

Students can apply for either Student Emergency Funding or Meal Assistance, or both if needed, when submitting their application and supporting documents through PittFundsMe.

Questions may be directed to emergencyfund@pitt.edu.

Completed applications are reviewed by members of the Student Emergency Funding and Meal Assistance Review Committee that includes representatives from Student Affairs, the Office of the Provost, Housing, and the Office of Financial Aid. 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 for Student Emergency Funding and 15 meal swipes for Meal Assistance. Each application is carefully reviewed to ensure all other financial aid resources are maximized first. Student Emergency Assistance 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. Meal Assistance swipes will be placed on the Panther Card (Student ID).

Students should set up direct deposit in PittPAY for Student Emergency Funding payment.

How Do I Sign Up for Direct Deposit (eRefunds)?
  1. Log onto PittPAY from the Student PittPay Login at payments.pitt.edu.
  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 Funding and Meal Assistance through PittFund$Me