The University of Pittsburgh has received $54.7 million of new federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding of which at least half — or $27.4 million — is mandated toward direct student support. Recognizing the impact COVID-19 continues to have on our students, the University will be distributing an additional $4.5 million. This will bring the total student allocation to $31.9 million which will be distributed to more than 30,000 students on all five campuses.

The ARPA encourages higher education institutions to prioritize students with the greatest need, and it enables universities to provide grants to non-citizen students including DACA students. To be considered eligible, students must be enrolled at least half time for the fall 2021 term, and awardees will only receive one grant. Students can give consent to use their grant to satisfy any outstanding account balance with the University if they wish. Grants will be disbursed by the week of Oct. 11, 2021.

In accordance with federal guidelines, Pitt will distribute $27.4 million in funding to graduate and undergrad students through these programs.

  • FAFSA students – Undergraduate and graduate students who are enrolled at least half time for the fall 2021 term and had an eligible 2021-22 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on file with the University where Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is less than or equal to $125,000. Eligible students will receive an estimated grant of either $600 or $1,200 depending on their financial need based on FAFSA information. Students will receive an email at their pitt.edu address from the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid asking them to indicate whether any award they may receive should be applied to unpaid charges on the student account or refunded to them in full. Students whose FASFA data is incomplete or under review are included in the Non-FASFA students group, below.
     
  • Non-FAFSA students – Undergraduate and graduate students who have not filed a FAFSA are receiving an email at their pitt.edu email address from the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid that outlines an application process to receive a grant in the event a student incurred unexpected expenses during the pandemic. The application asks students to attest to emergency needs in categories such as tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care) and childcare. They may also indicate on the application form whether any award they may receive should be applied to unpaid charges on the student account or refunded to them in full. Grant awards based on demonstrated needs are estimated to range between $600 and $1,200 per student. Students will have until Oct. 3, 2021, to apply for a grant.
     
  • Seniors with unmet need – Approximately 400 seniors will receive grants that will average $7,500, reducing each student’s unmet need to $20,000 on the Pittsburgh campus and $15,000 on the regional campuses. These seniors would have been eligible for the Pitt Success program had it been in place when they were first-year students. Students may wish to use these funds to pay down educational loans.

Additionally, Pitt is providing $4.5 million in grants to doctoral or graduate students with appointments and fellowships who have had their progress toward degree completion delayed by one or more terms due to pandemic-related issues.

Read more about what Pitt students can expect from the ARPA.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many students will receive ARP Grants and how much should they expect?
Grants to approximately 30,000 students across all five campuses are estimated to range between $600 and $1,200 per student, depending on their situation.
Can students use the grant monies to cover a balance on their student accounts?
Yes. The ARPA program allows students to give consent to use their award to satisfy any outstanding account balance. Without consent, the university will assume the award should be refunded to the student in full. 
How are students notified if they received a grant? 
Students will receive their awards in PittPAY on the Account Activity tab by the week of Oct. 11, 2021. Notifications from pittpay@pitt.edu will be sent to students’ campus email addresses at that time. Any amount that is not used to satisfy an account balance will be sent by direct deposit to the eRefund bank account the student has designated on the eRefunds tab in PittPAY.
What are the guidelines for these grants? What is the deadline for submitting forms to the Office of Financial Aid?

To be considered eligible, students must be enrolled at least half time for the fall 2021 term. Half-time enrollment is 6 academic credits for undergraduates and 4.5 credits for graduate and professional students. Pitt is using these methods to help determine financial need:

  1. An eligible 2021-22 FAFSA on file with the University as of Sept. 16, 2021, indicating an Expected Family Contribution less than or equal to $125,000. These students will receive an email from the Pittsburgh campus Office of Financial Aid asking them to complete a Consent Form indicating whether they consent to have the grant apply to an outstanding account balance. The deadline to complete the Consent Form is 11:59 p.m. ET on Sept. 30, 2021. Eligibility for the grant does not depend on submitting the Consent Form; the form simply instructs Pitt how to treat the grant if the student receives one when it is posted to the student account. If a grant recipient does not complete a Consent Form, Pitt will assume they want their award to be refunded to them in full. 
     
  2. Non-FAFSA filers may submit a Federal ARP Emergency Grant application to the Office of Financial Aid to assist in determining financial need. Students will receive an email from the Pittsburgh Office of Financial Aid with instructions for completing the application form. They will be asked to attest to emergency needs during the pandemic in categories such as tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care) and childcare. They may also indicate on the application form if they consent to have the grant apply to an outstanding account balance. The deadline to apply is by 11:59 p.m. ET on Oct. 3, 2021. 
If I did not receive an email from the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, can I apply for an ARP Grants?
Only those students who received an email from the Office of Financial Aid are eligible for ARP Grant consideration. All students, regardless of ARPA grant eligibility, can apply for separate emergency assistance funding through their campus. (See below for campus-specific resources.)
Who are the seniors with unmet need? How will they receive grants?
Three years ago, Pitt launched Pitt Success, a program aimed at making higher education more affordable and accessible for students and their families. This program now incorporates all undergraduate students except seniors. Through Pitt Success, students with unmet need are supported with funding that enables them to finish their degree program. This same support is now being provided to approximately 400 seniors who will receive grants averaging $7,500, reducing each student’s unmet need to $20,000 on the Pittsburgh campus and $15,000 on the regional campuses. These seniors would have been eligible for the Pitt Success program had it been in place when they were first-year students. Students may wish to use these funds to pay down educational loans.
When will seniors with unmet need receive the funds?
Grants will be awarded by the week of Oct. 11, 2021. Students will be notified in campus email from the University of Pittsburgh Office of Financial Aid. The award amount will appear in PittPAY on the Account Activity tab for fall 2021. Any amount that is not used to satisfy an account balance will be sent by direct deposit to the bank account the student has designated on the eRefunds tab in PittPAY. Students may wish to use these funds to pay down educational loans.
How will doctoral and graduate receive funds?
Doctoral or graduate students with appointments and fellowships that were disrupted for one or more terms and whose funding ran out during spring 2021 or summer 2021 due to the pandemic will receive funding through their respective schools. 
Can students receive more than one grant through this round of funding?
Students are eligible to receive only one Federal ARP grant.
Can I appeal the decision outcome?
There is no appeal process. The awarding process has been designed to utilize all available funds. All students, regardless of ARPA grant eligibility, can apply for separate emergency assistance funding through their campus. (See below for campus-specific resources.)
What drove the timing of the ARPA awards?
ARPA legislation was signed into law in March 2021. Given that students received $15.3 million in February 2021 through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA), the University elected to distribute the student portion of the ARP Act funding in the fall. Additionally, the University did not have access to the funds until this summer. This timing enables Pitt to expand its reach and offer support to non-FAFSA filers and international students in a way that was previously unavailable. Also, a fall distribution ensures that students who are receiving funds are enrolled at the time.
Is other financial support for students available at this time?

Pitt is supporting students in need of financial aid relief in other ways. All students, regardless of ARPA grant eligibility, are able to apply for emergency assistance through their campus.

Is the grant considered taxable income?
No, the grant is not taxable income to students, and the University is not required to report it to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).